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Hazel Park

September 3, 2014

Suspect caught after B&E attempt at veterinary clinic

Man was found hiding in vacant house nearby

By Andy Kozlowski
C & G Staff Writer

HAZEL PARK — A tip from a resident led police to the man they believe tried to break into a veterinary clinic late at night.

The suspect is Tommy Gateley, 24, of Croswell. He was recently arraigned by Magistrate James Paterson in Hazel Park 43rd District Court, charged with breaking and entering, a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. His cash bond or surety was set at $10,000. At press time, he had not yet appeared in court for his preliminary hearing.

The incident occurred around 10:20 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21. Police in Hazel Park received a call from a concerned citizen who allegedly heard some banging outside and looked out the window to see a suspect reportedly trying to break the windows of Cambridge Animal Clinic at 22635 S. Chrysler Drive.

When police arrived, they found four glass block windows busted out, along with the piece of concrete that had been used to shatter them, lying right below the window.

There was a blanket pinned up to the window, covering the shards lining the opening. Police believe the suspect had reached through the broken window and pulled out the blanket in an attempt to cover the glass so he could squeeze through unscathed.

It doesn’t appear the suspect actually gained entry, though.

“We assumed he reached in and was going to use the blanket to crawl through, but he must’ve got spooked and ran away,” said Hazel Park Police Lt. Brian Buchholz.

Later, officers checked the area, looking for anything suspicious in light of what had happened at the clinic.

They came across a vacant home with a busted garage door to the rear of the house. Inside the garage, they found the suspect, breathing heavily and soaked with rainwater.

“He didn’t want to come out. We had to order him several times,” Buchholz said. “The close proximity to the location of the crime and where we found him, and how it had started to rain and he was wet, all looked suspicious. He claimed he had been chased by a loose dog, hence why he was hiding there in the garage.”

The witness was able to positively identify the suspect as the individual who had broken the window at the clinic.

“We don’t think he made full entry and came back out. The glass block window consists of many small cubes, so we don’t think he could’ve fit all the way through,” Buchholz said. “However, as far as the law goes, breaking the plane still constitutes a crime, and by that I mean entering the building in any capacity, even reaching in with your arm. You could break into a window and take something as simple as a paperclip, and it would still count as breaking and entering.”

The lieutenant praised the quick and efficient work of the responding officers. He also praised the vigilance of the resident who called in the crime.

“We’re very thankful for the citizens who call us when things are happening,” Buchholz said. “That’s the best way for us to capture suspects in crimes like this.”