Royal Oak police arrest home invasion suspect

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published January 26, 2018

 Vernon Lee Shepard

Vernon Lee Shepard

ROYAL OAK — At approximately 12:40 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, a homeowner in the 700 block of Lockwood Road, south of Catalpa Drive, called 911 to report that a man had just removed the screen from one of her rear windows and then fled when he saw her inside.

Shortly after, Royal Oak police officers responded and began their search for the suspect. Royal Oak Police Lt. Keith Spencer said it was not long before police discovered the suspect a few blocks away from the home, hiding behind a building.

Spencer said officers quickly took the suspect, a 72-year-old Pontiac man, into custody.

“It was an excellent job by our officers and our investigators,” Spencer said.

On Jan. 25, 44th District Court Judge Derek Meinecke arraigned the man, identified as Vernon Lee Shepard, on one count of first-degree attempted home invasion — a felony that carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in state prison — and set his bond at $50,000 cash, no 10 percent, according to a police press release.

Shepard, who is currently on parole, has a criminal history dating back to the 1970s, including several convictions for burglary, armed robbery and disorderly conduct, according to the release.

Spencer said the homeowner took the appropriate action by calling 911 right away, and Spencer encouraged residents to do the same if they are in similar situations.

“If they ever see anything like this, immediately call 911 and make sure their homes are secured,” he said. “And try to provide as best of a description of the individual and the direction that they fled in. That helps us when we’re responding to these types of incidents, so we know who we’re looking for and where they went.”

Shepard is due back in court at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 2. A 44th District Court criminal clerk said Shepard had requested a court-appointed attorney, but one had not yet been appointed as of press time.