Police seek suspect involved in numerous home invasions

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 12, 2018

BIRMINGHAM/BEVERLY HILLS/ROYAL OAK — Police say they’ve got good images — but still no identification — for a lone suspect believed to have broken into several homes around Birmingham, Beverly Hills and Royal Oak recently.

Cmdr. Scott Grewe, of the Birmingham Police Department, said the man has allegedly struck in the city twice during the day and three times during overnight hours.

The first report came in Jan. 26, when residents in the 1900 block of Cole Street said they heard the sound of glass shattering on the first floor of the home at around 3 a.m. and went downstairs to find a rock thrown through the front window and a purse missing from the kitchen counter.

The next report came in two days later, when a woman arrived home later in the night of Jan. 28 to her house in the 500 block of Ridgedale Street and accidentally left her front door unlocked. The following morning, the family noticed that the front door was wide open, and a purse and a wallet were missing from a table in the living room.

Another report came in from a home on Eton Street, where neighbors spotted a man walking up and down the street trying doors during the day last week. Most recently, the suspect is believed to have been involved with the theft of a portable generator from the backyard of a home in the 2600 block of Aberdovey Drive in Royal Oak sometime during the overnight hours of Feb. 5-6.

“The connection is the timing — either during the day or early in the morning, like between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.,” Grewe said. “And in (how the break-ins occur). It appears this guy, what he’s doing is looking in windows, and when he sees something he wants, he tries the door. If it’s locked, he finds something to throw through the window to get in.”

Surveillance images captured by residential security systems and even trail cams, like those used by hunters, placed on private property confirm that the same suspect was involved in multiple cases in at least three jurisdictions. The suspect is described as a black man in his mid-50s with glasses.

Sgt. Kevin Kowalik, of the Beverly Hills Department of Public Safety, said he’s working with the other cities to investigate two incidents in the village that are believed to be connected to the same suspect.

“They took place at about 1 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. on Jan. 29,” he explained, adding that he wouldn’t disclose other details regarding the active investigations.

Grewe said Birmingham police want the public to know about the suspect and his habits for two reasons: The first is that police hope someone can identify the man and share a tip with law enforcement, and the second is to give residents a leg up on thwarting the “criminal of opportunity.”

“Just like you wouldn’t leave valuable stuff on the front seat of your car where people can see it, don’t leave cash and purses and other valuables on the table in the front window. It makes you an easy target,” Grewe said. “Whether it’s closing the blinds and locking the door or adding motion-sensor lights outside, just take steps to make sure you’re not giving (criminals) that opportunity.”

Staff Writers Sarah Wojcik and Brendan Losinski contributed to this report.