Sterling Heights MI Dec 29 2016 A suspected burglar in Sterling Heights was arrested early Wednesday after damaging two police vehicles during a chase that ended on 15 Mile at the Fraser sinkhole, according to police.
A security guard monitoring the road closure at the sinkhole was injured in the incident, police said.
The suspect in the violent chase crashed into a fire hydrant and fled on foot. He was tackled by Sterling Heights officers and fought with police before he was taken into custody, police said.
“He’s not saying anything,” said Sterling Heights police Lt. James Belmonte. “He had some merchandise on him that we suspect was from another (break-in) last night.”
The incident began at 1:53 a.m. Wednesday, as members of the Sterling Heights Police Community Response Unit investigating a rash of burglaries in recent weeks, observed the suspect sitting in a dark sport-utility vehicle in a commercial parking lot at Metropolitan Parkway at Ryan Road.
As officers watched, the suspect traveled to another commercial lot at 15 Mile and Dodge Park roads. He smashed the front glass door of Coco Bean Creamery & Café and entered the business, police said.
Officers moved into the arrest the suspect, identified as a 54-year-old resident of Warren.
“The suspect ignored the commands given by the SHPD officers and jumped into his vehicle,” Belmonte said in a news release. “The suspect then used his vehicle to ram his way out of the parking lot, damaging two SHPD police vehicles in the process and nearly running down an officer to get away.”
The pursuit continued east on 15 Mile Road, and the suspect entered the sinkhole construction area near Hayes Road. A private security guard was parked in an SUV, blocking the roadway at that location while a construction crew was working during the around-the-clock sewer repair.
The getaway SUV struck the vehicle occupied by the guard. The burglar’s vehicle struck the fire hydrant, where the fleeing driver jumped out and ran. After a brief foot chase, police tackled the man, who then resisted arrest.
The security guard injured at the traffic barricade near the sinkhole was transported to a local hospital for treatment of a head injury and likely will recover from his injuries, police said.
Belmonte reported the suspect has a lengthy criminal record including multiple arrests for burglary. The man, whose name was not released pending formal criminal charges, took an undetermined amount of money from the coffee shop. He is expected to be arraigned Thursday in 41-A District Court in Sterling Heights.
Christy Beleshi, owner of Coco Bean Creamery & Cafe, and her husband, Tony, were at the shop for hours cleaning up broken glass from the break-in. They said the suspect used an object to break through the glass door and grabbed a cash register drawer that had a small amount of money inside.
The entire episode was captured on their internal security camera.
“There’s glass everywhere,” said Christy Beleshi, who opened the cafe about a year ago. “We will be closed (Wednesday), we can’t open and risk the safety of our customers.”
Detectives believe the Warren man is responsible for at least five burglaries at commercial businesses in Sterling Heights in recent weeks. One of the recent incidents occurred at a strip mall near 15 Mile and Schoenherr roads, police said.
Officials credited the Community Response Unit for outstanding effort in apprehending the suspect.