Man pleads guilty to three counts of armed robbery

Attorney says drugs fueled defendant’s spree

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 25, 2015

Milko Saran

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — After a psychiatric evaluation proved Milko Saran, 26, of Shelby Township, was competent to stand trial, he pleaded guilty Jan. 29 to three counts of armed robbery that occurred from Aug. 15-18 in Shelby Township.

Saran’s defense attorney, Azhar Sheikh, said the competency threshold was low and that Saran’s intoxication on drugs at the time did not factor into his criminal responsibility for his acts.
“The prosecution is not venturing close to any deal,” Sheikh said. “(Saran) could get the most on all three charges, but we hope he gets (concurrent sentences for each charge), which the guidelines set anywhere between six and nine years (in prison).”

Sheikh added that, if any of the victims testify that they suffered residual problems from being held up at knifepoint, it could mean more problems for his client.
Saran has been lodged in the Macomb County Jail on a $750,000 bond — $250,000 for each charge — since his arrest on Aug. 19.

On Aug. 15, Saran held up Vim and Vigor Health Food Store, located at 51330 Van Dyke Ave. On Aug. 18, Saran held up Arena Bridal and Formal, located at 52095 Van Dyke Ave., and then Dr. Quinn Weight Loss Clinic, located at 45977 Hayes Road. In each case, he fled with an undisclosed amount of money.
By working closely with the community, police said, they were able to develop key information quickly that led to Saran.

“He is now virtually divorced; he lost his apartment and lost his job,” Sheikh said. “He handled stress the wrong way. This is a lesson to other young people to not get involved in drugs.”
Sheikh added that Saran told him he thought robbing three businesses at knifepoint would be a quick way to pay his drug debts.

He said his client had been honest and forthcoming with police and staff at the forensic center.
“Usually, when people have an addiction or criminal behavior, the first thing they learn to do is lie. It’s rather refreshing he wasn’t like that,” he said. “He’s actually been a lot stronger than his family, who has been crying and devastated. He’s really resolved himself for whatever (may come).”

Since his arrest, Saran has seemed much healthier and clear-minded due to his separation from drugs, Sheikh said.

“He’s just kind of resolved himself that his mistakes brought him to the bottom, and he’ll have to crawl up from three counts of felony armed robbery,” he said. “That’s rough, especially since post-9/11 intelligence has grown so much. Now, if you sneeze the wrong way, your record will follow you.”

The Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office could not be reached for comment by press time.