Suspects in home invasion, fleeing and eluding appear in court

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published May 15, 2018

 Co-defendant Joshua Pretzer, 22, of Brown City, appears with his defense attorney, Brittany Costello, for his probable cause conference at the 44th District Court May 11.

Co-defendant Joshua Pretzer, 22, of Brown City, appears with his defense attorney, Brittany Costello, for his probable cause conference at the 44th District Court May 11.

Photo by Sarah Wojcik

 Co-defendant Dylan Gazzola, 18, of St. Clair Shores, appears with his defense attorney, Clarence Dass, for his probable cause conference at the 44th District Court May 8.

Co-defendant Dylan Gazzola, 18, of St. Clair Shores, appears with his defense attorney, Clarence Dass, for his probable cause conference at the 44th District Court May 8.

Photo by Sarah Wojcik

ROYAL OAK — Two suspects in an April 29 case of home invasion and fleeing police recently appeared before 44th District Court Judge Jamie Wittenberg.

On May 7, Wittenberg bound over Dylan Gazzola, 18, of St. Clair Shores, to the Oakland County Circuit Court for a May 15 arraignment, and on May 11, Wittenberg set the preliminary examination for Joshua Pretzer, 22, of Brown City, for June 1.

On May 15, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Rae Lee Chabot arraigned Gazzola and set his pretrial examination for June 12.

At approximately 4:31 a.m. Sunday, April 29, police responded to an apartment in the 4300 block of Judson Avenue, near 13 Mile and Greenfield roads, for a subject who had broken into the caller’s apartment.

Officers learned that a suspect, identified as Pretzer, was the ex-boyfriend of the caller and was out on bond for a domestic assault charge involving the caller, police said. Pretzer allegedly entered the apartment through a window, argued with the caller, damaged a door and then stole the caller’s cellphone.

Police later located the suspects’ vehicle traveling on Greenfield Road and attempted to stop it, but the vehicle fled through Clawson on 14 Mile Road, reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph, according to police. Due to the driver’s reckless driving and the fact that he extinguished the vehicle’s lights, police ended their pursuit.

Later that morning, police arrested who they said was the initial driver and registered owner of the vehicle, Gazzola, when he attempted to report the vehicle stolen. He faces a charge of fourth-degree fleeing and eluding a police officer, a felony with a penalty of up to two years in prison.

Gazzola, who does not have a criminal record, appeared in court, out on bond, with his defense attorney, Clarence Dass, May 8. Dass told C & G Newspapers that his client is maintaining his innocence and that Pretzer was the “real perpetrator.”

“He’s maintaining that he was not trying to evade the police,” Dass said. “He’s basically saying that he was forced to drive by this other guy.”

Dass said his client used to be friends with Pretzer, but “mostly because of issues that that guy has, and especially because of this incident, they are definitely not friends anymore.” He said he his client was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

On the evening of Wednesday, May 2, Royal Oak investigators and members of the Troy Special Investigation Unit searched for and located Pretzer at an Eastpointe home.

Pretzer faces charges of first-degree home invasion, a felony with a penalty of up to 20 years in prison; third-degree home invasion, a felony with a penalty of up to five years in prison; and third-degree fleeing and eluding a police officer, a felony with a penalty of up to five years in prison. He is also being held for violating his conditional bond from the original domestic assault incident.

He also faces a charge of assault and battery, a misdemeanor with a penalty of 93 days in jail, brought forth by the city of Royal Oak.

Wittenberg said Pretzer, who came as a prisoner from the Oakland County Jail, had his bond revoked, which had formerly been set at $50,000, no 10 percent.

Brittany Costello, Pretzer’s defense attorney, said she had no comment because she had just received the case.