Retail fraud suspect arrested after attempting to flee police

By: Mark Vest | Farmington Press | Published November 20, 2023




FARMINGTON HILLS — The Farmington Hills Police Department arrested an Oak Park man who fled from police following a retail fraud incident Nov. 9.

Frankie Lysander Burton, 57, is facing four felony counts following the incident that started at the Target store at 30020 Grand River Ave., according to a press release.   

Police were dispatched to Target on a report of a retail fraud incident at 5:17 p.m. Nov. 6.

The responding officer located Burton, who was attempting to leave the parking lot in a vehicle.

Burton fled after the officer initiated a traffic stop.

The officer pursued the vehicle a short distance before Burton crashed into two occupied civilian vehicles on Nine Mile Road, near Middlebelt Road.

Officers ordered Burton to exit the vehicle, but he refused to surrender to police, the release states.

Burton continued to intentionally ram his vehicle into one of the civilian vehicles that he had already hit, which now blocked his escape, police said.

He eventually pushed the vehicle out of his way and continued to flee officers.

Officers continued the pursuit of the suspect vehicle, which was heavily damaged.

“The pursuit continued until an opportunity presented itself for the lead police vehicle to initiate a PIT (Precision Immobilization Technique) maneuver,” the release states. “This maneuver was executed, and the suspect vehicle was disabled, yet the suspect vehicle continued to roll backward, striking another civilian vehicle at the intersection of Greenfield Road and Trojan Avenue, south of Eight Mile Road, in the City of Detroit. The suspect exited the car and ran, leading officers on a short foot pursuit before he was taken into custody without further incident.”

A search of Burton at the time of his arrest revealed that he possessed suspected crack cocaine in his coat pocket, according to the release.

No injuries were reported.   

Burton was initially recognized by Target loss prevention staff in connection to several previous retail frauds.

He had loaded a basket full of items and left the store without paying for the merchandise before entering a vehicle with the merchandise and attempting to drive off, police said.

“The suspect showed a complete lack of regard for the safety of others and committed a felonious assault on an innocent civilian when he used his car as a weapon,” Farmington Hills Police Chief Jeff King stated via the release. “These actions posed a severe and ongoing risk to public safety, making it necessary for officers to pursue the suspect and make all reasonable efforts to safely take him into custody. I’m thankful that no one was injured and grateful to the Farmington Hills Police officers for their professionalism and determination to pursue and arrest a violent, habitual offender.”

On Nov. 8, the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office authorized a four-count warrant against Burton:  fleeing and eluding, second degree; possession of cocaine less than 25 grams; retail fraud, first degree, second or subsequent offense; and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Burton was arraigned in 47th District Court Nov. 8 by Judge James Brady, who set bond at $25,000 cash or surety.

Burton has a preliminary exam date set for Nov. 20.

No attorney was listed for Burton.