Suspect sought in jewelry theft on Ballantyne

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published July 21, 2014

UPDATE: Similar crime reported in Grosse Pointe Park

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — At press time, police were still looking for the suspect or suspects who reportedly stole fine jewelry and watches from a home on Ballantyne near Clairview between the hours of 12:30-4:30 p.m. July 18.

Public Safety Director John Schulte said the suspect or suspects appear to have gained access to the home through an unlocked door. Contractors had been working inside and around the house that day, he said. There were at least two different contractors who were in the house, or who were scheduled to be in the home, on the afternoon of the home invasion, including a painter, Schulte said.

After speaking with neighbors, police said they learned that a possible suspect had been spotted walking in the area of Ballantyne and Fairford and carrying a backpack around the time of the home invasion. Schulte said that potential suspect is described as an 18-20-year-old white male with a husky build and straight brown hair who got inside a light blue or medium blue Volkswagon stationwagon or small SUV, possibly with tinted rear windows, that was driven by someone else.

“This is a rare occurrence in the Shores, and we take it very seriously,” Schulte said of the crime. “We’re working on it as we speak.”

Police were able to collect evidence from the scene, including latent fingerprints from a jewelry box that were being sent to the Michigan State Police crime lab for processing, Schulte said.

He said the victims realized something was amiss when they returned home Friday afternoon.

“There was evidence of a search (for valuables) in the bedroom,” Schulte said.

At press time, Schulte said Detective Lt. Scott Rohr was following up on leads and checking with neighboring cities to see if any similar crimes have been reported recently. The section of the Shores where the home invasion occurred is very close to Grosse Pointe Woods.

It’s not known whether the two crimes might be related, but the Grosse Pointe Park Public Safety Department was looking into a similar report only days before the Shores crime. According to a Park police report, an unknown suspect or suspects entered a home in the 1000 block of Audubon between the hours of 9:40-11:15 a.m. July 16, getting in through an unlocked side door. Police said the suspect or suspects took a “large amount of jewelry,” but the suspect or suspects limited their search of the home to the master bedroom. Anyone with more information about the Park case should call Park Public Safety at (313) 822-7400.

The victims in the Shores case weren’t on vacation, but Shores residents who do intend to leave town are encouraged to inform the Public Safety Department of their vacation plans so that their homes can be added to a special vacation watch list maintained by the department.

There are other steps homeowners can take to protect themselves against crooks.

“The advice we would give, and have consistently given, is to lock all of your doors and set all of your (burglar) alarms, if you have them,” said Schulte, adding that anyone who has a video surveillance system should use that as well. The Shores Public Safety Department has a list of recommended security measures available online. To see this list, click on the Public Safety department link on and then the police department tab, which offers a residential security link with more tips. There’s also a link on the police department page where Shores residents can sign up online for the vacation house watch program.

Anyone with more information about the Ballantyne home invasion, or the possible suspect or suspect vehicle, is asked to call (313) 881-5500.