Grosse Pointe Farms carjacking suspect arraigned

Judge sets $100,000 bond

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 19, 2019

 Beck

Beck

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — A suspect accused of a violent attempted carjacking at a busy Grosse Pointe Farms gas station has been arraigned.

Farms Municipal Court Judge Matthew Rumora set a $100,000 cash or surety bond for Antonio Cortez Beck, 23, of Detroit, during Beck’s arraignment on one charge of carjacking and two charges of misdemeanor assault and battery during the afternoon of Nov. 15.

Beck is accused of striking an 80-year-old Grosse Pointe Farms man and his 69-year-old wife multiple times during the evening of Nov. 13, as Beck allegedly tried to obtain the keys to the couple’s Buick Enclave as they were getting gas at the Shell station at the corner of Mack Avenue and Moross Road.

The bond means that Beck would need to come up with the full $100,000 to be released from jail, and if he were able to do so, Rumora stated that Beck would be required to wear a GPS tether, have no contact with the Grosse Pointe Farms couple and stay away from the gas station at Mack and Moross.

“It’s a pretty serious offense,” Rumora said. “It’s a life felony. It’s an elderly victim.”

Public Safety Director Daniel Jensen said police received a call about the carjacking at around 8:30 p.m. Nov. 13. But before ever getting that first 911 call, they were already en route to the scene, having heard on police radio about the incident.

Two Detroit police officers happened to be steps away from the gas station — they were parked in front of Mister A’s Party Shoppe — and as Beck is said in a police report to have been casually walking away from the scene in the direction of the party store, a witness who had seen the altercation ran over to the Detroit officers to alert them of the crime and point out the suspect.

Jensen said that when Beck saw the Detroit officers, he started running; the officers chased him on foot and captured him in a backyard nearby on Allard Road. Jensen said the Detroit officers already had Beck on the ground when Farms officers got there moments later.

“The Detroit Police Department has some of the most outstanding officers around,” Jensen said. “We love to see them. The camaraderie (between our departments) is (terrific).”

Police said that Beck smelled strongly of intoxicants as he was being arrested.

Witnesses told police that Beck had a bandana over his face. In a police report, the Farms woman told police that she was seated in the passenger seat when she heard yelling from outside and looked over to see the suspect throw her husband to the ground.

The woman pulled the keys out of the ignition at that moment and held onto them as Beck was getting into the driver’s side, according to police. When allegedly Beck realized the keys weren’t in the ignition, the woman said that Beck started beating her, striking her about four to five times before she was able to get out of the vehicle, police said.

Beck is then said by police to have gotten out of the vehicle and attacked the Farms man again. The woman told police that she saw her husband’s wallet on the ground and its contents were strewn throughout the parking lot.

In court, Farms Detective Bryan Ford said Beck “struck the (male) victim multiple times about the head” and rifled through the victim’s pockets in search of the keys.

“The assault was captured on gas station (surveillance) video,” Ford told Rumora.

The woman went to assist her husband as Beck allegedly “sauntered around for a minute before taking off eastbound” toward the party store, according to the police report. The woman reportedly told police that during her altercation with the attacker, his winter hat fell off and was still inside the vehicle. Police collected a hat — which was on the front passenger seat — as evidence.

Jensen said the Farms man — who was bleeding and had contusions and abrasions on his head — was treated and released from a nearby hospital. The woman reportedly didn’t need medical attention for her injuries.

Police said that Beck wasn’t armed.

“When you get out of your car to get gas or supplies (at the gas station), take your keys with you,” Jensen advised. “And if you’re confronted, give your keys (to the suspect). We don’t advocated standing there or fighting (back).”

One of the witnesses, a 27-year-old Harper Woods man, told police that he had seen the suspect “lurking at the gas station” roughly 20 minutes before the attempted carjacking. When the Harper Woods man heard yelling, he said he looked over to see the Farms man on the ground and the suspect in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. According to police, he said the suspect then returned to the Farms man to search for the keys.

Another witness reportedly told police that she had also seen the suspect hanging around the gas station before the incident. When she heard the Farms man yelling for help, she noticed that a Detroit police car was parked nearby, and she ran toward the police vehicle to seek assistance, police said.

Besides the fact that carjackings are rare in the Pointes, Jensen said this crime was surprising because it occurred at a time when the gas station was bustling.

“It was 8:30 in the evening,” he said. “There were a lot of people there.”

Ford said Beck “was forthcoming with his confession.” Police said Beck does have a prior conviction on his record — for second-degree home invasion from 2016 in Wayne County. Beck was also arrested in Detroit for felony burglaries in 2012 and 2013, Ford said.

Rumora told Beck that he was being charged as a habitual offender, second offense, which meant that he would be “subject to an enhanced sentence” if convicted.

Beck said he had been working for a week at a recycling facility at the time of the attempted carjacking. He told Rumora he’s a lifelong Detroiter and he lives with his girlfriend.

In court, Beck was represented by defense attorney Andrew Moxie, but Moxie said he was just providing Beck’s representation for the day, as Beck’s permanent defense counsel hadn’t been appointed yet. Moxie said Beck “stands mute.”

“We’ll appoint a lawyer through (3rd) Circuit Court,” Rumora said.

A scheduling conference in the case was scheduled, at press time, for 8 a.m. Nov. 20 in Farms Municipal Court.

Jensen said this is a time of year when crime often spikes, as people are out shopping and celebrating the holidays.

“When you get out of your car, make sure to scope out the area,” he said. “Pay attention to your surroundings. Park under a streetlight or go places in numbers, if you can. Around the holidays, people get desperate. … This community is safe, but even Mayberry had some crime.”