Armed suspects sought in attempted heist at Salvation Army

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published April 7, 2014

 Police investigate the scene the afternoon of April 6 after two gunmen fled the Salvation Army store on Harper Avenue.

Police investigate the scene the afternoon of April 6 after two gunmen fled the Salvation Army store on Harper Avenue.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding two suspects who tried to rob The Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center on Harper Avenue at 13 Mile Road.

Stating how frustrated he was that someone would attempt to steal from an organization that works to help those in need, Sgt. Jay Cohoe of the St. Clair Shores Police Department said that two men wearing ski masks entered the rear entrance of the store, where donations are dropped off, around 11 a.m. April 6. The pair, both armed with handguns, came into contact with two employees; one of the suspects detained those two workers while the other suspect continued into the rear of the business.

Further inside, the second suspect encountered two female employees and forcibly placed one on the ground while striking the other.

“Apparently, at that point, both suspects fled,” Cohoe said. “We believe part of it was, they realized there was more than just a couple people there.”

The pair were described as black males 20-30 years of age, about 5-foot 10-inches to 6-foot tall, with one wearing a red sweatshirt and the other in a dark blue or black sweatshirt and both in ski masks and armed with handguns. Cohoe said they fled the way they entered, heading south down the alley and then west over the wall on the rear of the property, near the area of Manhattan Street. A K-9 unit was called in to assist from Macomb County, but the track ended shortly over the wall.

“Obviously, it’s very frustrating to me, as far as the armed robberies we’ve had, that someone would do an armed robbery of a Salvation Army store,” Cohoe said. “Who (does) everybody call when they have problems? The Salvation Army’s the first one there, but apparently these cowards don’t take that into consideration.”

Cohoe said the suspects never made it up to the cash register or office areas of the building and didn’t make any specific demands in the short time they were on the premises.

The employee who was struck in the encounter sought treatment at an urgent care clinic; there was no further word on her condition.

“I’m asking for whatever help I can get from the community,” Cohoe said. “Obviously, our detectives are out canvassing the area of Manhattan as well as the businesses.

“Hopefully, we can get some help, cooperation from anyone who may have seen anything because it basically victimizes all of us.”

If anyone saw anything suspicious or any suspicious vehicles in the area between 11 and 11:30 a.m., they are asked to call the Investigations Bureau at (586) 445-5305.