Eastpointe police arrest suspect in vehicle larcenies

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published August 7, 2019




EASTPOINTE — Eastpointe police have arrested a suspect who they believe is connected to several recent car robberies.

The suspect was identified as 23-year-old Benson Lee Wangsness. Police said he has no official residence listed, but he likely was staying with acquaintances in Eastpointe while the robberies occurred.

“We caught him in the act of robbing one of these vehicles,” explained Eastpointe Director of Public Safety George Rouhib. “We got a tip, and we saw him while observing the area. He fled, but we cornered him in a nearby neighborhood and he was arrested without incident. He had stolen property on his person when he was arrested.”

Wangsness was arrested in the late evening of July 28. He was arraigned in 38th District Court July 29 and was charged with one count of resisting and obstructing a police officer and one count of breaking and entering a vehicle to steal property less than $200. 

“He has been arraigned and formally charged for at least one larceny from auto and resisting arrest,” Rouhib said. “There will be additional charges pending, and we are trying to tie some other break-ins directly to him. This is why we are stressing so much that people report these incidences. We think he’s been doing this for months. He would go around and look for unlocked cars and take whatever he can get his hands on.” 

As of July 31, Wangsness had not retained or had not been assigned an attorney. His next scheduled court date was a probable cause conference Aug. 6, which took place after press time.

Eastpointe police believe that Wangsness may be responsible for several vehicle larcenies that took place in the areas south of Stephens Road between Schroeder Avenue and Kelly Road, such as Almond Avenue, Rosalind Avenue and Roxana Avenue. Police are asking anyone in that area who has suffered a theft or a break-in to contact them. They can be reached at (586) 445-5100.

“For a young man, he has an extensive criminal history,” Rouhib said. “We believe he was hanging out in a house in this area, staying with friends or acquaintances, and then he would go out at night and rob these cars. It may not be limited to Eastpointe. We are sharing what we know with other nearby departments.”

Rouhib advises the public to exercise caution when it comes to keeping their vehicles safe and to use common-sense safety measures.

“I’ll say it again and again: Lock your car doors. Just make sure you check every time,” he said. “Also, make sure you don’t have any valuables or electronics in plain view. Don’t keep a garage door opener in there either; it can be a key into your house. Keep your cars in the light and leave those porch lights on. Criminals don’t like the light.”