Police arrest suspect in armed robbery at Village Market

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 19, 2024

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GROSSE POINTE FARMS — A suspect was arrested in the early morning hours of Feb. 18 in connection with an armed robbery at Village Market, 18330 Mack Ave. in Grosse Pointe Farms, Feb. 15.

According to a report from the Farms Public Safety Department posted on the website Nixle, Farms detectives and members of the Eastern Wayne County Special Response Team found the suspect in a vacant home in Detroit Feb. 18 and took him into custody. The SRT, which is made up of public safety officers from the five Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods, is similar to a SWAT team.

The suspect — a 53-year-old Detroit man — was slated, at press time, to be arraigned on charges of armed robbery the morning of Feb. 20 in front of Grosse Pointe Farms Municipal Court Judge Charles Berschback, according to a press release from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

A police report and prosecutors stated that the suspect — acting alone — stole multiple bottles of alcohol worth about $100 apiece from Village Market at around 7:45 a.m. Feb. 15.

A store employee told police he reacted after the front door alarm at the store sounded and he spotted the suspect walking away with what appeared to be stolen alcohol. The employee followed the suspect outside. He said that when he put his hand on the suspect to confront him over the alleged theft, the suspect produced a handgun from his waistband, pointed it at the victim’s face and told him, “Let go.” The employee complied and the suspect fled the scene on foot, police said.

The handgun was later found to have been fake, prosecutors said.

Surveillance cameras at businesses in the Farms and Detroit tracked the suspect’s path as he left the area. An officer who spoke with people at businesses along that path of travel learned that the suspect was known to employees of some of those businesses as a person who had caused problems and stolen merchandise from their stores in previous incidents.

Because of the proximity of the crime to Brownell Middle School — which was only a couple of blocks away — police called for the school to be locked down out of an abundance of caution.

The suspect’s path of travel away from the store was later found to have been in a direction moving away from, not toward, the school.

“As this case is still under investigation, additional information is limited at this time,” the Farms Public Safety Department stated on Nixle.

Public Safety Director John Hutchins was off Feb. 19 for Presidents Day but said by text that “detectives are still investigating … (so) we can’t say anything more as of yet.”

Anyone with more information about this incident can call the Farms Public Safety Department at (313) 885-2100.