Royal Oak police arrest allegedly armed man driving dirt bike

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published September 22, 2020




ROYAL OAK — At approximately 2:02 a.m. Sept 6, Royal Oak police observed a man riding an off-road-style motorcycle at South Main and Fifth streets make a series of traffic violations, including driving up on the sidewalk and performing an illegal U-turn on Center Street.

Officers initiated a traffic stop of the dirt bike-type vehicle, which police said lacked safety equipment, including the horn, lights, mirrors and turn signals required to operate on the road, according to police.

“The individual was very agitated and irritated and asked why he was being stopped,” said Lt. Al Carter, of the Royal Oak Police Department. “During the process, the officers observed the tips of some knives sticking out of his front pants pocket.”

The knives turned out to be three double-edged, non-folding knives between 7 and 8 inches long, and the driver also had a cup containing beer in his possession, although he was not under the influence, according to police.

Carter said the driver, 43-year-old Detroit resident Leo Rayes, never obtained a driver’s license and he could not tell officers his intentions or where he was going.

“The officers immediately questioned him about the knives, and he said they were for his safety and protection, but obviously they are illegal,” Carter said. “The officers were able to de-escalate the situation using calm, respectful voices and were able to put handcuffs on him without any further incident.”

Officers arrested Rayes for carrying concealed weapons and driving while license suspended and cited him for numerous equipment violations. They also recovered the three knives.

“A very concerning and dangerous individual was taken off the streets by good investigative police skills. We’re very proud of that, especially at that hour of the morning,” Carter said.

On Sept. 8, 44th District Court Magistrate Donald Chisholm arraigned Rayes on one count of carrying a concealed weapon, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine, and one count of operating while license suspended, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. Chisholm set Rayes’ bond at $10,000 cash or surety or 10%. A clerk said he posted the $1,000 bond.

Police said Rayes has a criminal history including felony assault with a dangerous weapon, delivery of a controlled substance, possession of firearms by a felon, felony firearm, receiving and concealing stolen property, disorderly conduct, trespassing and retail fraud.

Rayes is due back in court at 10:01 a.m. Sept. 25 for a probable cause conference before Judge Jamie Wittenberg. His defense attorney, Nichole Lynn Smithson, did not return a request for comment by press time.