Harper Woods Public Safety tackles increase in armed robberies

Suspect arrested for targeting same business twice in less than a week

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published February 26, 2015

HARPER WOODS — Police are investigating whether two suspects are responsible for contributing to the increase in the number of robberies in Harper Woods.

The department has had 12 armed robberies since the beginning of the year, which is more than what they saw around the same period last year. They’ve arrested five suspects so far, and they think two of those may be responsible for multiple robberies in the city.

One of the arrests involved a suspect who allegedly targeted 7 to 7 Cleaners, 19834 Kelly, twice in four days.

“The suspect arrested (Feb. 16) in connection with the 7 to 7 Cleaners robberies is being investigated for several crimes that have occurred on Kelly Road during this time frame,” Harper Woods Public Safety Director James Burke stated in a Nixle.com release.

The suspect also faces an armed robbery charge in Detroit.

At press time last week, Burke said that Detroit police were doing their arraignment first, and then he would be arraigned in Harper Woods.

He allegedly robbed the cleaners in Harper Woods during the morning Feb. 13 by pulling out a knife and grabbing a woman who worked at the cleaners. A coworker gave the suspect money from the register, and the suspect fled.

The same suspect armed with a knife came back during the morning Feb. 16, allegedly to try to rob the cleaners again.

“A female employee defended herself by swinging a Shop-Vac at the suspect,” Burke said on Nixle.com. “The suspect fled without getting any money. Detectives located and recovered what they believe to be the knife used in the robberies.”

On the same day, the suspect allegedly committed an armed robbery in Detroit.

Detroit and Harper Woods teamed up to track down the suspect.

“We share information and we’re close with Detroit,” Burke said of the working relationship between the two departments.

After investigation and surveillance in Detroit, the suspect was brought into custody just hours after the second 7 to 7 Cleaners incident.

He faces an armed robbery charge in Detroit, and a couple so far in Harper Woods. Harper Woods Public Safety was continuing to investigate whether the suspect was involved in any of the other Harper Woods robberies at press time, Burke said.

Another of the suspects police believe may be involved in multiple robberies in the city is a 16-year-old Detroit resident who was arrested for attempted armed robbery on Feb. 14.

The attempted robbery involved a man and his adult son walking in Eastland Center. The suspect allegedly pointed a handgun at the father and son and demanded their Cartier glasses.

They didn’t give up their glasses, and the suspect left the mall.

During a search, police found the suspect running near Fleetwood and Beaconsfield, and they caught him after a lengthy chase.

They also recovered a loaded, large-caliber handgun that the suspect allegedly dropped during the pursuit, which was later identified as a stolen weapon, according to police information.

The teen faces multiple counts, including attempted armed robbery and possession of a stolen firearm.

Burke reminded people to contact the department if they notice anything suspicious, including people or vehicles that seem out of place.

“People should be aware of what’s going on in the community,” he said.

“Fortunately, there have been no injuries to any of our victims,” he said in the Nixle.com report. “The best defense against crime is all of us working together to keep our neighborhoods safe.”