Oakland County crime briefs of the year

C&G Newspapers | Published December 28, 2017

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OAKLAND COUNTY — Here’s a look back at some of the most interesting and bizarre Oakland County crime briefs from 2017:


Crash results in arrest 
SOUTHFIELD — Two people were arrested after an early morning crash on New Year’s Day.

Officers were dispatched around 4:37 a.m. Jan. 1 to the 27000 block of Northwestern Highway for a driver who was possibly operating while intoxicated and hit a building. 

When officers arrived on scene, they pulled their patrol vehicle in behind the suspect. The suspect attempted to leave the scene and nearly backed into the officer’s vehicle. 

Police said the officers activated their overhead lights in order to avoid getting hit. 

The driver of the vehicle then abruptly exited the vehicle and started screaming at the passenger, police said. 

When the officers intervened, police said they could immediately smell intoxicants and marijuana. 

Police said the two people inside the vehicle continued to argue until the driver punched the passenger in the chest. An officer stepped in between the two subjects and attempted to stop them from fighting. During the altercation, the officer was punched in the chest by the passenger. 

Both suspects were eventually taken into custody. 

A witness told police that the two people inside the car had switched seats in the vehicle prior to the officers’ arrival. 

Several scales and marijuana were recovered from the vehicle. 

The suspects were arrested for aggravated assault, possession of marijuana, resisting arrest and driving with a suspended license. 


Drunken driver hits salt truck
TROY — After receiving a report of a single-vehicle accident on southbound Interstate 75, north of 14 Mile Road, just after 2:45 a.m. Jan. 8, police arrived to find a white Volkswagen Jetta with severe front-end damage blocking the right lane.

Police discovered that the driver, a 25-year-old Royal Oak woman, had rear-ended a Road Commission for Oakland County salt truck. She reportedly told police she was making a phone call, got distracted and struck the truck. Officers said she smelled of alcohol and that she admitted to drinking alcoholic beverages in Rochester.

She failed sobriety tests and blew a 0.18 percent blood alcohol content on a breath test. She was charged with drunken driving, second offense, as she had a prior conviction for drunken driving in 2011.


Drunken driver calls police for help after running out of gas
TROY — Police responded to a motorist on northbound Crooks Road, south of South Boulevard, just after 3 a.m. Jan. 17 who called to ask for help because he ran out of gas in his gray 2010 Ford Focus. 

The inside of the car reportedly smelled of alcohol. The driver, a 27-year-old Bloomfield Hills man, told police he was returning from Detroit Masonic Temple when he ran out of gas. He failed sobriety tests, blew a 0.15 percent blood alcohol content on a breath test, and was arrested and transported to Troy police headquarters, where he refused to take a second breath test, according to a police report. A court-ordered blood test was administered, and the man was charged with drunken driving, first offense, pending lab results.


Woman bilked out of $700,000 through online dating site 
TROY — A Troy woman said she met a man on Match.com Feb. 7 who said he was a widower working on an oil rig near London, England. He told her his name was Donny Koch and said he was having financial problems, so she gave him money that he promised to pay back. 

Police said a person posing as an Interpol director contacted the woman and said Koch had been arrested at an airport with a large sum of money that he had not paid taxes on. According to police, when the woman wired him more money for his bond March 18, her bank informed her that she had been swindled. Police said she paid out $703,000. 


Decorative pineapple stolen from backyard
TROY — Residents on Wendover Street, near Adams and Big Beaver roads, told police a copper-colored pineapple was stolen from its post in their backyard. According to reports, the theft occurred Feb. 17. 


Woman pays bail money with counterfeit bill
TROY — Police said a 41-year-old Birmingham woman went to the Troy Police Department just before 9 a.m. Feb. 18 to bond out a relative and paid the bail with cash that included a counterfeit $100 bill. According to police, the fake bill had “For Motion Picture Use Only” stamped on it, and the woman said she had gotten the money from her relative’s attorney, who said he had gotten the money from another client. Police called the client, who said she had gotten the money from the cash register at the coffee shop where she works in Macomb County.

Police said it appears that the people involved did not realize that the money was counterfeit. Police contacted the U.S. Secret Service, which is aware of several counterfeit $100 bills dispersed in Macomb County. 


Freaky fast
CLAWSON — While on routine patrol at about 5 p.m. Feb. 21, an officer stopped a 19-year-old man for speeding in the area of Broadacre and North Webik avenues.

According to police, the man was driving 35 mph in a 25 mph zone. The driver told the officer he was making a Jimmy John’s delivery. He also told the officer that he didn’t know how fast he was going and had never been stopped by the police before. After police checked the man’s record, they found that his license had been suspended for not paying a no-proof-of-insurance ticket in Madison Heights last summer. When the officer asked the driver why he lied, the driver said he was just scared. The delivery driver was given citations for driving with a suspended license and for speeding.


Staggering, drunken man delivered to parents
CLAWSON — Police ticketed a 34-year-old Clawson man for public drunkenness after he was spotted stumbling on the south side of West 14 Mile Road near North Washington Avenue at about 1 a.m. March 12.

According to police, he was staggering onto the road and then back to the sidewalk, and “he almost looked like he was dancing with his arms swinging out wildly.” After the man struck his shoulder on a small tree and spun around in a complete circle, police went to him as he once again approached the street before falling and trying to support himself with a yellow support wire from an electrical pole. 

The man told police he had been drinking at a Royal Oak bar and was walking to his girlfriend’s house. The man blew a 0.20 blood alcohol content and was taken to his house. Once his parents opened the door, the officer “advised them of the situation to prepare themselves for their unsteady son.” Police said the man was very cooperative and apologetic and almost fell off the front porch before entering his house.


Man threatens to stab family over generator
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Officers were dispatched to the 6000 block of Indianwood Trail March 13 on reports that a man was threatening homeowners with a knife.

According to reports, officers arrived at the scene and determined that a relative who was staying with the homeowners during a recent power outage had gotten into an argument with the residents over who should have use of the power generator. The argument allegedly escalated, and the relative reportedly threatened to stab the homeowners and the police.

The suspect, a 58-year-old Florida man, was arrested and charged with domestic assault.


Burnt rag found near gas tank
ROYAL OAK — A complainant from Royal Oak Golf, 3417 Don Soper Drive, reported to police that an unknown person broke the back windows of a work van and attempted to light a rag on fire near the gas tank inlet. The case is under investigation.


Kroger bans chip thief
FARMINGTON HILLS — A 40-year-old Farmington Hills woman was issued a ticket for retail fraud around 9 a.m. March 29 at Kroger, 25780 Middlebelt Road.

According to the police report, the shopper picked up a 12-pack of beer and two bags of Doritos and walked past the point of sale without paying for the merchandise.

Kroger employees stopped her, and the woman was banned from all Kroger stores.


Passenger pokes bus driver in the eye
TROY — Police arrested a passenger on a Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation bus arriving at Oakland Mall just after 3:30 p.m. April 5 for allegedly assaulting the bus driver. 

According to a report, the passenger got upset and poked the bus driver in the eye when the driver refused to honk his horn at another bus to get the second bus to stop so the passenger could board it. 

The passenger reportedly fled from the bus, and police found him on John R Road, south of 14 Mile Road, getting onto a third bus. He was charged with assault. 


Man steals meat
SOUTHFIELD — Police were able to track down a meat thief.

Around 1:52 p.m. April 14, officers were dispatched to a store in the 28000 block of Telegraph Road on a report of a retail fraud suspect. 

Dispatchers told the officers that the suspect, a 50-year-old man, had just committed retail fraud at a business on Telegraph and fled the location eastbound on 12 Mile in a gray Chrysler PT Cruiser. 

An officer located the suspect vehicle at the traffic light at 12 Mile and Lahser roads and followed the vehicle to Murray Crescent Drive, where the driver immediately stopped and got out of the vehicle. 

Police said the officer then got on his PA system and ordered the subject back into his vehicle. A backup officer then arrived at the scene and took the suspect into custody for alleged retail fraud. 

The suspect told police that he had stolen meat from the business and had given the meat back to someone from the store after they caught him. 

The suspect also told police that he had recently stolen meat from another business in a neighboring community. 

The neighboring jurisdiction was notified, police said. 


Leftovers startle man
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — A resident in the 3000 block of Middlebury Lane called police to report a suspicious bone in his backyard April 17. 

The resident said he had let his dog out in the backyard that evening and the dog returned carrying a bone.

The resident said he thought it looked like a human knee bone. An officer responded to the home and took the bone to be tested. Meanwhile, a search revealed no other bones in the area.

The Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the bone came from a ham.


Duo arrested with credit card printer
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — At around 5:15 p.m. April 20, officers stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation on Square Lake Road, near Franklin Road.

Officers found a credit card reader and writer, along with an embossing machine, in the vehicle. There were also handwritten notes with credit card numbers and expirations dates, as well as numerous receipts from gas stations in Southfield, Detroit and Dearborn.

The driver, a 21-year-old man from Southfield, was believed to have purchased packs of cigarettes on several different occasions from different gas stations in the area using fraudulent credit cards he had created.

He and his passenger, a 19-year-old woman from Lincoln Park, were arrested for possession of a fraudulent financial transaction device.


Man arrested at police station for disorderly conduct
SOUTHFIELD — On April 28, an officer working the front desk of the Southfield police station, 26000 Evergreen Road, said a man went into the lobby to retrieve his property from a prior arrest. 

Jail personnel came to the station and told the man that his property could not be released without a property form and that he would have to speak with a supervisor the following business day.  

The desk officer said the man then walked back to the desk and started yelling obscenities at the officer. 

The man was told to leave, and when he did not, the officer escorted him out the front door and told him not to return. 

Approximately three minutes later, the officer said, the man went back into the lobby. 

The man was placed under arrest for disorderly conduct, and was escorted to the jail and lodged.


Police advise intoxicated, sombrero-wearing man
CLAWSON — While on routine patrol southbound on Crooks Road approaching 14 Mile Road at 8:44 p.m. May 6, an officer saw a man stumbling across the roadway wearing a sombrero and looking very intoxicated. 

The officer said the man narrowly avoided being struck by a vehicle “that had to slow down to allow him to complete his stumble across the road into an apartment complex near Crooks and Parmenter.” 

After being stopped by police, the man apologized and said he had been in Royal Oak and his Uber driver dropped him off on the wrong side of the street. Police advised the man about public intoxication and jaywalking laws and told him to get inside his apartment and sleep it off.


Man reportedly tries to steal back Pokémon cards
BERKLEY — Officers received a call about a breaking and entering at a business at around 10:16 p.m. May 12 in the 2600 block of Coolidge Highway.

Officers were dispatched to the area after a call from a witness about hearing broken glass and seeing a man walking back from Collectible Investments, 2666 Coolidge Highway. They located the man in a silver Honda parked on Coolidge.

The 31-year-old Sterling Heights man told police that he was in his car waiting for his friend at Jet’s Pizza. One of the officers noticed a cut on the man’s left hand and saw blood near his thumb and index finger. Another officer went into Jet’s to find the man’s friend, but was unsuccessful.

After being asked about the cut, the man reportedly told police that he broke the store window with his hand to try to get back the Pokémon cards he sold earlier in the day, but he left after the alarm sounded. He was then placed under arrest for breaking and entering. The man told police that he never entered the business.

A search of the man’s car led public safety officers to find a tire iron, which the man reportedly later admitted to using to break the glass. Because of the tire iron and a flashlight that officers also found with the man, he was arrested for possession of burglary tools too.


Butterfingers damages building to get keys
BIRMINGHAM — Officers were dispatched to the Wells Fargo building at 34100 Woodward Ave. at 9 p.m. May 13 on reports that someone was trying to break through the grates to access the basement of the parking garage.

Officers arrived at the scene and confronted a 20-year-old man from Eastpointe, who said he had accidentally dropped his keys through the grate and was trying to retrieve them. He had broken two door handles from the doors of the parking lot under the building. He was arrested and cited for malicious destruction of property.


Business receives bomb threat, ransom request on printer
TROY — An employee at a business at 100 W. Big Beaver Road reported to police that she received a document on her printer at 10:30 a.m. May 30 stating that a bomb was in the office and would be detonated the next day unless a $25,000 ransom was paid via Western Union. Police checked the business and found no bomb, and no ransom was paid, according to a report.


Woman chases man who paid for game at garage sale with fake bill
TROY — A woman on Walker Drive, near Rochester and Square Lake roads, told police a man purchased a video game from her at her garage sale just after 11:15 a.m. June 9 with what she believed was a counterfeit $20 bill.

The man then got into a blue 2010 Ford Fusion with another person, and the woman reportedly followed him in her car to block the Fusion.

Police said the man drove into her vehicle and escaped, then drove through the subdivision and was slowed by traffic. He reportedly drove onto the sidewalk and on a resident’s lawn to get away. A passenger in the Fusion threw a bag out the window that contained narcotic paraphernalia, police said.

Responding officers contacted the owner of the Fusion, who said her 18-year-old son, from Northville, had been driving the vehicle. Police said a resident on Chancery Drive, near John R Road and South Boulevard, found 29 possibly counterfeit $20 bills dumped in the street believed to have been dropped by the suspects in the Fusion. Police turned over all of the suspected counterfeit money to the Secret Service.


Almost cleaned out?
CLAWSON — The owner of the Laundry Palace, 140 S. Main St., called police to report that someone had drilled out the back door lock sometime before 3 p.m. June 15, which was the time the complainant found the damage. Police noticed the drilling, along with metal shavings on the ground and pry marks on the door. According to the owner, nothing appeared to be missing or damaged, and he did not believe the person gained entry, because the business alarm did not go off. The owner was going to review surveillance video with police.


Man reportedly drives Porsche on lawns
TROY — Police were called to Valley Vista Lane, near Beach and Long Lake roads, just before midnight June 27 for a report that a maroon 2012 Porsche was driving on the lawns of several homes. Police found the vehicle driving between two homes and convinced the driver, a 55-year-old Clarkston man, to stop the car, according to reports.

He reportedly smelled of alcohol, admitted to drinking alcohol in Birmingham and believed he was in Royal Oak. Police said he failed sobriety tests, blew a 0.195 percent blood alcohol content on a breath test and was arrested for drunken driving.


Altercation ensues over traffic turn
TROY — A complainant told police that a man in his 40s driving a red 2009 Saturn Vue was angry that the complainant was not making his turn fast enough on southbound Stephenson Highway, south of Maple Road, just after 5 p.m June 27 and then became enraged when the complainant made a crying gesture. According to reports, the man driving the Vue got out of his vehicle, reached inside the complainant’s vehicle, slapped and spit on the complainant, then sped away.


Man sounds horn about trumpet theft
TROY — A man on East Long Lake Road told police he heard a noise at his back door at 2 p.m. July 6 and saw a man leaving his home, running southbound down his driveway and westbound on Long Lake Road. He later discovered his 1950s Gibson Archtop steel string folk guitar, his 1964 Stradivarius B flat box trumpet and his Yamaha Bobby Shew B flat silver trumpet had been stolen, according to a report. 


Police use stun gun on fighting man
BERKLEY — A 47-year-old Redford Township man was arrested for disorderly conduct at around 1:55 a.m. July 15 at 3490 W. 12 Mile Road.

Police officers were dispatched to Hartfield Lanes for reports of a fight. Upon arriving, officers found a large crowd gathered in a parking lot with “several people showing aggression” toward each other, according to a police report.

The Redford Township man was facing off against a 22-year-old Detroit man and began to draw back his fist, but an officer used a Taser on the man before he made contact. The man fell to the ground. He later admitted to swinging at the Detroit man, but he reportedly said it was in self-defense and that the Detroit man “was coming at him.”

The Redford Township man was taken into custody, while the Detroit man was free to go.


Driver issued citation for reckless driving
FARMINGTON — A driver was issued a citation July 21 for driving irresponsibly near Shiawassee Park. 

Police were called to the scene for a report of a vehicle that had driven through a festival tent and was driving on the infield of a ball diamond. Officers located the vehicle, spoke to witnesses and issued the driver a citation for reckless driving.


Thief apologizes before stealing tools
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — At around 6:30 p.m. July 25, a man entered the Lowe’s store at 1801 Telegraph Road and selected a nail gun and a reciprocating saw, then took them to the register.

When the cashier began to check the man out for his purchases, the man said “sorry,” grabbed the tools and ran out of the store without paying.


Landscapers have no grass
CLAWSON — Someone called police at 1:45 p.m. Aug. 7 to report that they believed there was drug use going on in the 100 block of Redruth Avenue. The caller said landscapers were in a truck in a parking lot, and it smelled like they were smoking pot. 

Police said that when they went to investigate the incident, they did not smell marijuana inside the vehicle, nor did they smell it on the crew leader they spoke to, who was previously in the truck. The crew leader said that they were smoking cigarettes. 


New Jersey man arrested for WDC drag racing
BLOOMFIELD HILLS — At around 1 p.m. Aug. 19, officers were dispatched to Woodward Avenue and Long Lake Road on reports of an accident.

According to reports, a black Chevy Corvette was drag racing on the stretch during the Woodward Dream Cruise when it fishtailed and lost control, striking a 1954 Chevy pickup truck from Ohio. The pickup was damaged and no longer drivable, and the Corvette fled the area without stopping.

Officers were unable to local the Corvette that day, but after an investigation they were able to track down the vehicle and the 18-year-old driver, who is from New Jersey. He was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident and for drag racing.


Thief steals sandwich
WEST BLOOMFIELD  — An employee at the 7-Eleven store located at 4264 Orchard Lake Road called police at around 10:30 p.m. Sept. 4 to report that a subject had stolen a sandwich from the store.

The sandwich, an Italian submarine sandwich, was worth $3.99. There were no suspects.


Police help guide goats to safety
TROY — Troy police Officer Jacob Ulicny helped to ensure that two goats, Gunther and Eugene, who ran onto the roadway near Maple and Rochester roads just after 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14, were safely returned to their owner, said Troy police Sgt. Meghan Lehman. Neither the goats nor the officer was injured, police said. 


Cold move with hot beverage
SOUTHFIELD — An officer was dispatched to a bank in the 28000 block of Northwestern Highway at around 1:52 p.m. Sept. 26 to investigate a potential malicious destruction of property incident. 

The bank manager told police that the suspect had entered the bank to cash a check but was denied because she was flagged in the bank’s system as a person involved in past fraudulent incidents. 

The manager told police he told the suspect that the bank would not cash her check, and she reportedly became angry, throwing two cups of hot coffee at his computer. 

Police said the suspect had been identified.


Police hear man yell obscenities at neighbor
TROY — Police were called to Fabius Drive, near, Long Lake and Livernois roads, on a report that a 55-year-old Troy man was yelling obscenities at his neighbor just before 3 a.m. Oct. 4 for erecting a fence he believes is on his property. 

The man reportedly denied yelling obscenities. Police said that when officers left the scene and stood nearby, they could hear the man yell obscenities at his neighbor at the fence line. He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. 


SMART bus fight leads to police involvement
FARMINGTON/FARMINGTON HILLS — Police were dispatched to the 30000 block of Grand River Avenue, at Tuck Road, at around 11:30 p.m. Oct. 30 on a call of two men fighting.

A Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation bus driver had called police about a fight that ensued after a 27-year-old Detroit man allegedly spat on the back of a 25-year-old Detroit man’s head. 

Police learned that the 25-year-old man, who had sat in front of the alleged spitter, felt something wet on the back of his head after the man reportedly made a spitting sound. 

The 25-year-old man stood up and asked the man if he’d spat on him; the 27-year-old Detroit man then reportedly tried to spit on the man. The 25-year-old man reportedly punched the alleged spitter. 

The bus driver pulled over in front of the Target store on Grand River Avenue in Farmington and contacted police. The alleged spitter was issued a citation for being disorderly and was taken to another location and released.


Gunman climbs in McDonald’s drive-thru window
FARMINGTON/FARMINGTON HILLS — The Farmington Department of Public Safety assisted the Farmington Hills Police Department in responding to an armed robbery at the McDonald’s at Orchard Lake and 10 Mile roads around 11:40 p.m. Nov. 7.

A man reportedly climbed through the open drive-thru window and brandished a gun, forcing employees to place cash in a bag, according to a police report. The suspect, who was not described in the report, left the restaurant through the rear door on foot. 

A K-9 tracker did not produce positive results.  The suspect’s jacket and sweatpants were recovered by a Farmington officer south of the restaurant; the items were released to the Farmington Hills Police Department.


Unsatisfied patient attacks doctor
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Police were dispatched to a medical facility on Woodward Avenue at around 2 p.m. Nov. 21 on reports of an assault and battery in progress.

According to the clinic staff, a patient was unsatisfied with a procedure and complained to the doctor, eventually becoming so irate that she attacked the doctor and a staff member.

Staff called 911, and when police arrived, the suspect refused to be handcuffed. The 27-year-old Sterling Heights woman was successfully taken into custody and was charged with assault and battery, and resisting and obstructing an officer. 


Delivery truck driver charged with drunken driving
TROY — Police stopped a 48-year-old Grand Blanc man who was reportedly erratically driving a white FedEx semitruck eastbound on 14 Mile Road, west of Dequindre Road, at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 24. 

According to police, the driver smelled of alcohol, failed sobriety tests and blew 0.21 percent blood alcohol content on a breath test. 

The driver was arrested. Police found two open, half-full containers of alcohol in a cooler during a search of the vehicle. The man was charged with drunken driving and transporting an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.


Drunken driver asks officer if he’s there to change his tire
TROY — Police responded to the parking lot of Jersey Mike’s Subs, 644 W. Big Beaver Road, just before 5:30 a.m. Nov. 25 on a report that a black 2004 Chevy Impala had struck the median wall on southbound Interstate 75, south of Crooks Road, and driven off to the lot.

Police found the car running, with heavy front-end damage. The driver, a 35-year-old Detroit man, was lying in the driver’s seat. Police said that when asked if he had just gotten off the freeway, the man said yes, and he asked the officer if he was there to change his tire. 

The driver reportedly smelled of alcohol, failed sobriety tests and refused to take a breath test. He was arrested and taken to the Troy Police Department, where he again refused to take a breath test. 

Police obtained a warrant for a blood draw, and the results were pending.

Police discovered that the man’s license had been suspended seven times. He was charged with failing to stop to report a property damage accident, driving on a suspended license, refusal to take a breath test and drunken driving, pending lab results. 


Break-in, larceny reported at Northland site
SOUTHFIELD — A  suspect is wanted for breaking into the former Northland Center mall.

According to police, a city worker discovered the break-in at around 9:59 a.m. Nov. 25 when the door at the back of the old Target store was discovered to have been forced open at the vacant shopping center, 21000 Northwestern Highway. 

Police said a padlock was broken off the door, which was marked with a boot print. 

The break-in appeared to have occured around 2 a.m. Nov. 25, police said. 

Police discovered that a golf cart and miscellaneous power tools were stolen, along with miscellaneous hand tools and a microscope. 

A city pickup truck that was parked in a tunnel underneath the mall was vandalized with graffiti spray-painted all over the vehicle, police said. 

Throughout the tunnel, graffiti was spray-painted all over the walls, including the message: “11/23/2017 2am.”

Police said the spray paint on the tunnel wall was the same color of paint that was used on the city truck.