Police hope video will help identify blind man’s assailant

By: Brian Louwers | Online Only | Published January 23, 2013

CENTER LINE — Investigators in Center Line hope security video footage will help find the man who entered a blind resident’s apartment and assaulted him earlier this month.

Lt. Tom Costello of the Center Line Public Safety Department said detectives were still attempting to transfer and share video captured on the security system at the Lawrence Park Apartments on Nine Mile, where the assault took place at 7:26 a.m. Jan. 15.

Costello said a 33-year-old visually impaired resident told officers he heard a noise at the door before a man burst into his apartment in the mid-rise structure just west of Center Line’s City Hall and Public Safety offices.

“The next thing he knows there is somebody coming in, pushing him down,” Costello said. “He immediately gets in the fetal position, defensive position. He believes he is going to be assaulted further.”

The man told investigators he heard commotion coming from a spare bedroom of the apartment but that the suspect fled without further aggression.

According to a police report, a neighbor said she observed the suspect, described as a black man wearing a black leather coat, dark jeans and some other piece of yellow clothing, force his way into the victim’s apartment. The woman said she heard what sounded like a scuffle in the apartment before the suspect emerged again and shouted an obscenity at her before he got on an elevator.

The victim told officers he was not injured in the encounter and Costello said nothing was taken from the apartment.

The motive for the assault remained unclear in the absence of a robbery or a connection of some kind between the victim and the suspect.

Costello said the suspect could be seen on security video apparently putting on gloves as he entered the apartment building. Security video also captured the suspect leaving the building approximately 18 minutes later.

Investigators do not know how the suspect was able to gain entry to the building, which requires a security key. Access can also be granted electronically by residents.

Anyone with information about the assault or the suspect can reach Center Line investigators at (586) 757-2203.