Teens charged with stealing, possessing guns

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published September 22, 2016




Three teens were arrested earlier this week in connection with a report of stolen guns.

Clawson Police Chief Harry Anderson said two minors and 17-year-old Joseph Gjonaj — all students at Clawson High School — were arrested Sept. 18 after it was brought to the department’s attention that they might have stolen two long guns from the home of a girl they were friends with in the 1400 block of North Custer Avenue.

Anderson said the father called police to report the stolen weapons, and one of the names of the minors came up as someone who was at the house recently.

Clawson officers located the minor at his home, and according to police, he admitted to being with two other friends when he stole the guns, but he told police that he no longer had the guns.

Anderson said the boy’s father alerted police to a “go bag” his son kept in the backyard when taking off to see friends. Police searched the yard.

After locating the knapsack, the father reportedly opened it for police. Anderson said that officers found inside the bag 40 rounds of .223 ammunition, some 9 mm rounds and five shotgun shells.

Anderson said police believed the boy took the ammunition from his father.

As officers were approaching the home of the second suspect at 10 p.m. Sept. 18, the 16-year-old was walking out the door with the stolen guns in a stolen gun case, according to police.

Anderson said the second suspect had been tipped off that his friend had been arrested, so the second suspect was leaving to get rid of the guns.

It was at that time that Gjonaj walked up to the house allegedly to help his friend ditch the weapons, police said.

Police said both suspects admitted their involvement in stealing the weapons and were arrested.

Anderson said he does not believe there was a greater plan by the teens to use the weapons and ammunition.

Anderson said before the teens were located, he was on the phone with Clawson Public Schools Superintendent Monique Beels to devise a plan to make sure all students were safe.

“The school was right on top of it,” Anderson said.

The two minors were transported to Children’s Village, and Gjonaj was booked Sept. 18 and arraigned Sept. 19 in 52-4 District Court.

According to police, the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office reviewed the case and charged the first juvenile suspect with larceny of firearms, possession of cocaine, receiving and concealing stolen property, and resisting arrest; the second juvenile suspect was charged with receiving and concealing stolen property; and Gjonaj was charged with larceny of firearms and larceny in a building.

Gjonaj’s attorney, John Elkhoury, said Sept. 22 that he could not comment on the case, as he had been retained the previous night and had just submitted his request for discovery. He was not involved with the arraignment.

“I can say he’s doing his classes online, he has no prior criminal history of any kind, and obviously there are some co-defendants that I believe are juveniles. Unfortunately, my client happened to turn 17 six or seven weeks ago.

“He’s a good kid; very low key, not a very loud individual. He’s just very frightened and I’m trying to help him and the family here, and like I said, he has no criminal history,” Elkhoury said.

Elkhoury said his client was suspended from school and is taking classes online to keep up.

The two minors had their pretrial hearings in juvenile court and were being held without bond until their next court dates.

Gjonaj was transported to the Oakland County Jail, where he was released after a $25,000 bond was posted.

Police said all three suspects were ordered to have no contact with one another.

Anderson praised his men for swiftly taking the suspects into custody.

“The guys were on top of it and did a great job,” he said.