Park honors uniformed and civilian crime stoppers, lifesavers

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 27, 2016

 During an April 11 City Council meeting, Grosse Pointe Park Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni reads the commendations of Sgt. Anthony Blain and Lt. Ed Arnold for their work in catching a suspect wanted in a string of larcenies and home invasions.

During an April 11 City Council meeting, Grosse Pointe Park Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni reads the commendations of Sgt. Anthony Blain and Lt. Ed Arnold for their work in catching a suspect wanted in a string of larcenies and home invasions.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

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GROSSE POINTE PARK — During an April 11 Grosse Pointe Park City Council meeting, Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni publicly acknowledged with departmental commendations the exceptional work of several members of the department last year.

Lt. Ed Arnold and Sgt. Anthony Blain were honored for their work in the arrest of a suspect who ultimately confessed to six home invasions, 25 larcenies from vehicles and three bike thefts, Poloni said.

He said Arnold — using the signal from a cellphone that had been stolen during one of several home invasions last December — tracked the suspect to a cellphone store on Detroit’s east side. With cooperation from store employees, Poloni said, Arnold was able to obtain store surveillance images of the suspect, and Arnold was able to share that with officers in the Park and other local law enforcement agencies. 

Blain, who was searching an area on Detroit’s east side for a suspect involved in the home invasions and larcenies, spotted a man who matched the description of the suspect Arnold was tracking, and Blain arrested the man at a nearby store.

“If not for the great instincts and initiative of Lt. Arnold, the subject would not have been arrested quickly and would have most likely continued on his crime spree,” Poloni said. “This is an example of astute police tactics by Sgt. Blain, which resulted in the arrest and incarceration of a habitual criminal.”

Officers Michael Miller and Aristides Reyes received awards for working jointly to arrest a suspect last year who was wanted for a number of larcenies. Poloni said the officers saw a man matching the description of the suspect, and while Reyes maintained a perimeter with his vehicle, Miller kept an eye on the man while on foot.

Miller watched as the suspect reportedly pushed an empty shopping cart into an alley in the area of Mack Avenue and Balfour Road and emerged shortly thereafter with items in the cart. The suspect then slipped into a backyard in the 1400 block of Buckingham Road, from which he emerged with a tool that he had apparently stolen from that residence. 

“Officer Reyes and Miller showed diligence in recognizing the suspect from roll call and showed initiative in formulating and executing a plan for surveilling and tracking the suspect on foot and (by) patrol vehicle,” Poloni said. “This incident demonstrated excellent police work, culminating in the arrest of a habitual offender.”

Local residents were honored as well for assisting the department in 2015. One award, whose recipient wanted to remain anonymous, was given to a Park resident who helped police apprehend a pair of youths who had been stealing packages and committing other larcenies. Poloni said the resident, who had been a victim of a package theft himself, set out a bait package in front of a nearby home and kept watch until he spotted the suspects snatch the package — which had been placed in front of an unoccupied home. 

The suspects collected other packages on the street as well, police said. The resident called police, who were able to arrest the young suspects. Poloni said the suspects confessed to “numerous larcenies,” and police were able to recover a number of stolen items and return them to their rightful owners.

A second civilian award was given to Russell Stringfellow, who spotted an unusual amount of smoke coming from a home on Barrington Road on Feb. 11, 2015, prompting him to investigate, whereupon he saw that the back porch was ablaze. Poloni said Stringfellow collected a large amount of snow and shoveled it onto the fire, adding more snow as needed until the fire was out.

Officers called to the scene said the fire had moved up the porch wall and would have reached the door were it not for Stringfellow’s actions. 

“Furthermore, the resident of that home has a disability that could have caused difficulty in exiting the residence,” Poloni said. “Officers made entry into the home using a key and found that the resident was home and unaware of the fire on his porch.”

Poloni said the fire started after friends who had been visiting the resident dumped some ashes outside from the fireplace. Stringfellow’s quick thinking and efforts to put out the fire saved the house and possibly the resident from what could have been a tragic house fire, police said.

City officials lauded the officers for their exemplary actions in the line of duty.

City Councilman Daniel Grano said the city needs to “recognize the great work the officers do.”

“I’m in awe of everything you do,” Grano told the officers.

City Councilman James Robson, himself a retired police officer, agreed.

“Like Dan, I appreciate the opportunity to recognize the great work of the officers,” he said. “The city would be nothing without the outstanding work of public safety. … Traditionally, Grosse Pointe Park has hired the best and the brightest (police academy graduates).”

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