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January 7, 2013

Police looking for suspect stealing bathroom parts

By Sara Kandel
C & G Staff Writer

ROSEVILLE — Police in Roseville are looking for a suspect who’s been stealing piping from the bathrooms at local businesses.

The unknown suspect hit three businesses, two restaurants and one gas station in Roseville from Dec. 27-29, removing exposed piping from the male facilities. In one case, the man also stole an automatic flushing mechanism. Police said each incident only took minutes to carry out.

“These parts can be removed easily in less than five minutes,” said Deputy Chief Don Glandon of the Roseville Police Department. “Even a do-it-yourselfer would be able to do it, with a small pipe wrench or a pair of large pliers, within minutes.”

While extensive plumbing knowledge isn’t required to remove exposed bathroom plumbing, police said the suspect might be employed in a related field. The majority of the parts stolen don’t have much value, leading police to wonder if the suspect was going to use them elsewhere.

“It’s possible the suspect took the parts to use at a different work site,” Glandon said. “It’s odd pieces that were stolen. The automatic flush mechanism, stolen from the McDonald’s at 12 Mile Road and Callahan, would be worth several hundred, but the actual piping wouldn’t be worth very much.”

A witness offered a possible description of the suspect, following the incident at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 27 at the McDonald’s on 12 Mile Road, after seeing an unknown male leave the bathroom and the restaurant just before the dismantled piping was discovered. The witness described the male suspect as approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall and wearing a light blue shirt and a tan Carhartt jacket. He was last seen getting into the passenger side of a red four-door foreign vehicle driven by another male suspect.

Police said there are no witnesses to the incidents that occurred on the two days that followed, when the exposed piping valves leading to urinals and toilets were stolen from the facilities at the “McMobil” gas station and restaurant on 11 Mile and Gratiot just before 3 p.m. Dec. 28, and from a Tim Horton’s at 1 p.m. Dec. 29.

Other than the three Roseville incidents, police do not believe that the suspect struck anywhere else.

“We are not aware that these types of thefts have occurred in any other cities,” Glandon said.

“This is a hot case,” Glandon added, “but nobody has contacted us with information on the suspect and we have no leads at this point. But we are hoping someone will come forward so we can close this case.”

Anyone with information on these incidents is urged to contact the Roseville Police Department at (586) 775-2100.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Sara Kandel at skandel@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1030.