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Posted on Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 12:19 p.m.

Ann Arbor police warn of numerous burglaries on the city's west side

By Amalie Nash

At least 20 homes on Ann Arbor's west side have been burglarized since May by a thief or thieves who kick open back doors and cut window screens to get in during the day while the resident are at work, city police said.

City police issued an alert this week about the crime spree which detectives said is occurring in the neighborhood west of Main Street, north of Miller Road and east of Maple Road.

Detective Sgt. Pat Hughes said today that 13 or 14 of those burglaries are believed to be related.

Break-ins have occurred on Miner, Brookridge, Gott, Brooks, Bydding, Sunset, Red Oak, Summit, Spring, Fountain, Olden and Bending, according to a crime alert.

About 50 to 60 area residents gathered for a Neighborhood Watch meeting with police Thursday night, Hughes said.

The break-ins are taking place between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., and the method of entry has included kicking open back doors, pushing up window screens, entering unlocked doors and cutting window screens, Detective Sgt. Brian Jatczak said. The majority have been cut window screens - although in one case, a burglar even climbed to a second-story window to make entry. "We're not sure if it's an individual or a couple people," Hughes said. "They're picking doors to knock on, and if someone is home, they make up a fictitious story and leave. If no one is home, they kick the door or cut a screen to get in."

Items being stolen include laptop computers, jewelry and money, police said.

Jatczak said a suspicious person has been seen in the area around the time of a couple of the burglaries and may be involved. He was described as black, 18 to 25, with a thin to medium build, short afro, and facial hair on his chin. He was carrying a shoulder bag in one case and wearing a gold cross charm in another instance.

Police are asking residents to call to report any suspicious activity in the area and to make sure doors and windows are locked. "We don't normally see many break-ins in this area - it's a pretty quiet residential area," Jatczak said.

Anyone with information can call Ann Arbor police at (734) 794-6910.



Thu, Sep 17, 2009 : 6:25 p.m.

Blake, Rau House WAS a flop house. If yu get a moment, walk around the back and you will see that a resident of Miller Manor, Mr. Jack West, cleaned the entire backyard.. by himself. The residents of RH actually had a latrine in the backyard! I currently live in Miller Manor and yes, some of our residents have "bad" visitors. But there is NO prostitution or open drug sales!Consider that Miller Manor had a AAPD lieutenant living here for 10 years and there was still crime. Please don't judge the residents of Miller if you have never been here or even know someone who lives here... By the way, Rau House didn't have working plumbing or electricity. Oh yeah, Miller Manor also donated Food to Rau House every two weeks until it was closed! Additionally, Miller Manor has cameras so if there is a concern, pull the footage

Alan Goldsmith

Mon, Sep 14, 2009 : 11:24 a.m.

From the Detroit News today: Guess the Mayor is...not being totally truthful about there being no increase in Ann Arbor crime.


Sun, Sep 13, 2009 : 11:59 p.m.

uawisok, Miller Manor residents are not involved! Don't be ridiculous. Its one person. Maybe its a student.Maybe its someone that is angry because Rau House is closed....


Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 9:01 p.m.

-I was told by calling the non emergency number that the next time I saw a suspicious person that yes, I could call 911. The non emergency number 994.2911 is I believe answered by the same people that answer 911 anyway? -I would suggest if anyone is home during the day that they push the stroller around, walk the dog, or go for a stroll themselves at random times, even for a few blocks away from and back to thier house (to keep it in site). Just to be more of a presence. Or even to sit on thier porch and read a book.


Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 8:46 p.m.

Some friends of mine live on the northern side of Summit. Like I stated earlier, I haven't seen a change in patrol but I don't live there so I really haven't noticed. I agree that it is a very quite neighborhood. I just mentioned that to one of my friends when we were leaving from over there last week some time. I will have to agree with Uawisok that Miller manor has been a thorn in A2's side since the 90's that I can recall West park used to be full of drunks and crack heads before they built the new shelter. Back in the early 90's I noticed we had 190 officers down to 124 now. In the 90's down town had alot better beat cop's than they do now Phil Laviegn(SP) was a great officer and would help anyone that needed it he's bought me coffee when I was a Dirty Diag rat. I've also noticed that sence twe got a new chief in 2000 or 2001 I think. The down town police aren't as personal with the Homeless, as they once where. Post 9/11 Ann Arbor is alot different than The A2 of today. In my opinion we have went from libral Hipppie's to consevitive Yuppies.

Matt Van Auker

Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 2:27 p.m.

Thanks, Amalie. I'll keep a sharp eye out for him, and so will a number of other people I know.


Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 2:24 p.m.

Thanks Amalie, and Julie, I'm sorry to hear you were one of the victims. I agree with your thoughts on low density, dispersed, and well integrated housing. Of course as you said, we have no real reason to assume the main suspect falls anywhere near that category. For all we know it could be a 17 or 18 year old kid in the neighborhood, just as likely living in home of a financially stable family as they could be someone at Miller Manor or any subsidized housing. It's an easy knee-jerk reaction to assume in must be some drug addict from the lower rungs of our caste system is to blame, but of course it may just as likely be some troublemaker son of an average family. Too bad it's not on the other side of town - this localization makes it a little bit hard to blame Ypsilanti.....Yes, that was a joke

Matt Van Auker

Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 2:18 p.m.

What color was the shoulder bag? And, approximately how tall is he?


Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 2:06 p.m.

I live in the neighborhood, and my house was broken into. There has been a LOT more police presence lately, looking for this person/people. I have no idea whether the suspect is in any way affiliated with Miller Manor, but to respond to previous posts, I will add my 2c that the place is a nightmare. It's a perfect example of why supportive/low income housing should be low-density and well-integrated into neighborhoods. There is no way to "know your neighbors" when they are not integrated, and have no accountability to the neighborhood. But I digress. This may have nothing to do with Miller Manor. I hate that we were robbed, and I hate that this has been happening to my neighborhood.

Top Cat

Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 2:05 p.m.

I wonder how many people whose homes were broken into had dogs?

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 1:48 p.m.

Amalie, maybe you could also ask the Mayor what he meant by: "I discussed your neighborhood this morning with the Police Chief and City Administrator. We went over the most recent crime numbers up to last Saturday and at this time there is no noticable up-tick in the statistacal data."


Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 1:29 p.m.

Amalie, (or anyone at who'd like to follow up), I've heard people rattle off numbers that claim the Ann Arbor police force is about half the size that it was 10 or 15 years ago - no clue at all if there's any truth to this. I'd be interested to know however, how or if the police force has changed in size over the last few decades, both overall and as a per capita ratio with changes in the city's population. If any of you folks in the information-gathering business have easy access to these numbers, I'd be curious. Thanks!

Eric P

Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 1:16 p.m.

"The number of officers on Patrol in our City is the same as it has been for several years" Really then where are the downtown patrol officers that we had until last spring?


Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 1:16 p.m.

I live in that area, and know a few of the people who have been victims. It's usually a pretty quiet neighborhood - we've only had two shootings in the last couple of years, and haven't had any stabbings or kidnappings in almost a month (well, maybe 3 weeks). The occasional prostitutes typically mind their own business (they usually perform their services on the other side of Miller, at the Manor), and the number of known drug houses have been fairly calm and quiet lately. So yeah, aside from the 20 or so recent break-ins, I can see how you could say there's been no up-tick in the statistical data....Best thing to do of course, is to know your neighbors, and know them well. Right around my house everybody knows everybody, and with at least a few who stay at home during the day and notice anything suspicious, I do believe this serves as something of a deterrent, and seems to make the houses on our block a less appealing target. I know at least one recent instance where someone matching the description of this particular suspect was sighted peeking in one of my neighbor's mailboxes, and though police were called he was gone by the time they got there. Much to the police force's credit, they have been adding the area to their regular patrols lately, and I've seen them much more recently than before. I hope they can keep this up even after this particular rash of crimes is over. Even if they don't catch the bad guy(s), maybe they can make a little revenue by ticketing all the idiots who like to do 45 on Summit, or the 3 out or 4 cars who blow through the stop sign by the school on Brooks. That would be nice too.


Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 1 p.m.

Blake 138...I live a block from Miller Manor and over the past 15 years I have seen more than I can mention. If it isn't the folks living there it is their "freinds", being poor has nothing to do with being a criminal...theres a big diiference!


Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 12:44 p.m.

Need new mayor, for sure, Alan! The police in A2 are top notch. They will get to the bottom of this soon, you can bet. The mayor should probably stick to things he knows about.


Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 12:42 p.m.

That is too funny I though 911 was for emergencies someone looking suspicous is not an emergency. They also have a office number for non emergencies((734) 794-6910.) I'm a tattooed freak I always look suspicous to some people and I look normal to others. So if I decide to go off of Summit and Fountain to see some of my friends do I have to worry about the AAPD being called on me? Because I look suspicous. "Calling 911 when you see something suspicous would really help" John Hieftje *shakes head in disgust* I am in that neighborhood at least once a week and I have never saw a police car or any officer for that matter.

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 12:08 p.m.

This was an email the Mayor sent that's available on seveal local blogs: "I discussed your neighborhood this morning with the Police Chief and City Administrator. We went over the most recent crime numbers up to last Saturday and at this time there is no noticable up-tick in the statistacal data. However, our goal will be to insure that it does not get that far. Perhaps it seems unusual in the way that many of us think about Police Chiefs but our Chief still goes out on patrol himself and often rides along with patrol officers. He was recently in your neighborhood with one of the patrol officers who grew up there. The Chief will be scheduling a meeting for early September so the PD can communicate directly with you and your neighbors. In the meantime it would be helpful if you could be as specific as possible in communications with the PD. Calling 911 when you see something suspicous would really help. Someone trying to gain entry to a house they do not own is something that should be reported immediatly. Observing someone using drugs on the street, in a park, etc., would also qualify as a reason to call with specific information. The number of officers on Patrol in our City is the same as it has been for several years and they will be paying special attention to your area. As I explained to someone else who wrote earlier today, crime statistics continue on a long term downward trend in our city but that does not mean certain areas dont need special attention from time to time. The AAPD will do their best to keep your neighborhood safe. John Hieftje" "at this time there is no noticable up-tick in the statistacal data"???????


Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 11:44 a.m.

Imagine that...all these are within walking distance to Miller manor...HMMMM