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Royal Oak police arrest regional tool theft suspect

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published April 24, 2019




ROYAL OAK — On April 18, 44th District Court Judge Derek Meinecke arraigned Matthew Paul Geesey, 25, of Taylor, on a string of charges in relation to multiple tool thefts spanning back to July 2018.

“For over a year, this suspect has been stealing from construction sites in communities all over Wayne and Oakland counties,” Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue said in a prepared statement. “These tools are a lifeline for construction workers who relied on them to earn a living.”

Geesey was charged with one count of breaking and entering a building with intent, a felony that carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison; one count of breaking and entering a vehicle with damage to the vehicle, a felony that carries a penalty of up to five years in prison; and larceny — $1,000 or more, a felony that carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

On April 13, a homeowner reported that an unknown suspect had stolen almost $1,500 worth of tools from the home, which was being renovated, in the 400 block of East Kenilworth, near Main Street and 10 Mile Road.

While Royal Oak police were at the scene, a neighbor approached and reported seeing an unfamiliar man carrying items from the home to a truck late the prior evening.

“The neighbor thought it was strange and took down the license plate number of the truck,” Royal Oak Police Department Lt. Keith Spencer said. “We were able to follow up. It was a good lead.”

Royal Oak police, along with the Special Investigation Unit, a multi-jurisdictional task force that includes a Royal Oak officer, began to investigate.

Just prior to the incident in Royal Oak, according to police, investigators learned that the same suspect and vehicle had been spotted at the scene of another theft at a home under construction in Bloomfield Township. They located the suspect’s vehicle parked outside a home in Taylor, but they did not observe the suspect.

Early in the morning April 16, SIU officers located and arrested Geesey at the Taylor home. Royal Oak detectives obtained a search warrant and discovered more than 100 items believed to be stolen, according to police.

The items included power tools, pneumatic tools, toolboxes, a generator and a snowblower, and police said that they located and returned the property stolen from the incidents in Royal Oak and Bloomfield Township.

“We are very pleased we are able to return this stolen property to the rightful owners,” O’Donohue stated.

While police have linked Geesey to the two incidents, Spencer said, police are still investigating his possible involvement in incidents in other communities.

Spencer urged anyone who has been a victim of a tool theft from houses under renovation or construction to gather as much information about the tools as possible, including serial numbers or special markings, and to reach out to police.

According to police, Geesey’s criminal history includes convictions for possession of marijuana, misdemeanor breaking and entering — illegal entry, and attempted larceny.

Meinecke set Geesey’s bond at $20,000 cash, no 10%. His next scheduled court appearance is set for 8:30 a.m. April 30 before 44th District Court Judge Jamie Wittenberg. He requested a court-appointed attorney, but one had not yet been appointed as of press time.

Police ask anyone with information or who was a victim of a tool theft to contact the Royal Oak Police Department at (248) 246-3456.

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.