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Posted on Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 12:32 p.m.

Burglar caught in the act almost walks away - then steals SUV loaded with items from home

By Paula Gardner

Two women left a home in the 4900 block of Grandview in Pittsfield Township for a quick shopping trip on Tuesday night and returned to see a man walking through the house as they pulled into the driveway.

Moments later that man was driving off in an SUV from the garage - one he'd just loaded with their belongings, Pittsfield Township police said.

The 52-year-old homeowner told police that she and her 22-year-old daughter were returning to their home near Packard and Golfside from a nearby store just before 10 p.m. Tuesday when they pulled into the driveway and opened the garage door.

But while they were waiting for the door to open, they could see into the home and noticed a man walking through the kitchen toward the front door, said Deputy Chief Gordy Schick.

The man walked out the front door toward the street.

"The victim yelled at him, but he continued to walk away," Schick said. "She said, 'Excuse me!,' and the suspect continued walking away from the home."

One of the women asked the man not to steal from her, since she'd just had her cellphone taken from a local retailer earlier that day, Schick said.

Then, Schick said, the man replied, "Yeah, maybe I'm returning your stuff."

That's when the suspect shifted direction, walked into the garage and used a key that he pulled from his pocket to start a 2012 Ford Escape.

According to the police report, the victim grabbed the man as she noticed her belongings in the back seat of the vehicle, but he warned her to stop - and threatened to harm her.

"The (Escape) was already loaded," Schick said. "... It was pretty bold."

Stolen items in addition to the vehicle include a television, DVD player and desktop computer with a combined value of $5,000.

Schick said there's no evidence linking the missing cellphone to the burglary.

The suspect is described as a black man about 35 years old who was wearing a grey hoodie. He is about 5-feet, 10-inches tall and weighs 175 pounds.

The stolen vehicle is a black Ford Escape Limited with a silver luggage rack.

Anyone with information should contact Pittsfield Township Police at (734) 822-4911.

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Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:47 p.m.

orly? "One of the women asked the man not to steal from her, since she'd just had her cellphone taken from a local retailer earlier that day, Schick said".


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 2:06 a.m.

They didn't block his exit with their car? Grab him around the neck or legs since there were two of them? I know hindsight's easy but how can you just freeze up like that?


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 7:07 a.m.

Never, ever "engage" anyone who looks capable doing any harm at all to you. It's hard to overcome "natural reactions" to situations like this -but even saying anything to a stranger who's just shown complete disregard for property rights and even the presence of others who witness their crime - is really taking a big chance. That two-to-one advantage can turn into a one violent person against two complete amateurs situation in an instant. Assuming an advantage can be deadly, only KNOWING you have the advantage qualifies.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 11:47 p.m.

It doesn't make sense to risk your life over over property that can be replaced.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:09 a.m.

Because unfortunately people are taught from a young age to be passive and victims.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 8:27 p.m.

What a crazy story!


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 8:12 p.m.

Hoodies don't rob people, people wearing hoodies do. Brought to you by the National Hoodie Association.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 8:41 p.m.

As I've mentioned before, just about every suspicious person you hear about on the police scanner wears a hoodie according to the caller's description. Usually a black hoodie. It's uncanny. This guy must have had his black one in the wash. Seriously, I don't think it is wise to make contact with someone like that. It could set him off to do anything to you.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 7:06 p.m.

I'm confused...he stole a car that was already stolen? OMG do you people not have editors? The headline sounds like the victims had a stolen car in their garage and the perp used it to get away.

Paula Gardner

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 7:14 p.m.

He did steal the car to get away (along with many items from the home).


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 6:30 p.m.

"One of the women asked the man not to steal from her, since she'd just had her cellphone taken from a local retailer earlier that day, Schick said." What was her cellphone doing at a local retailer ? Why did the local retailer have her cellphone ?


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 6:15 p.m.

Geese, once you think you have heard it all, then this. This auto is true to it's name (Escape) and a new one yet. I think I might have shot it up as he left. ( I see a couple brave women here).


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.

Once he threatened harm, well all bets are off.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:08 a.m.

AGREED! and this is why responsible gun owners can't let media histrionics and inaccuracies stand unchallenged.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

Shooting out tires is a terrible idea for too many reasons to list; I hope you were joking. The victim got close enough to touch the suspect; the suspect threatened her. A blast of spicyface (i.e. pepper spray) might have been appropriate (and possibly hilarious) without having to resort to lethal force, although having both options is ideal.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 7:04 p.m.

Well, you could shoot a tire or two out on the car and leave the thief to walk home...


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

Somehow I don't think he was threatening to key the victim's car, or steal her property...wait already did that...I'd be willing to bet he threatened to harm her!

5c0++ H4d13y

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 6:36 p.m.

Doesn't michigan law require that you retreat if you can? Especially if you are already outside the home. Plus you cannot shoot to protect property. Only life and limb.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 5:44 p.m.

Too bad they didn't have a gun to take care of this guy.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 12:17 a.m.

@ 5c0++ H4d13y While you are correct in that you cannot use lethal force to defend property, duty to retreat is no longer mandatory. The Michigan Self Defense Act 309 of 2006 gave back your rights to defend yourself anywhere you have a legal right to be.

5c0++ H4d13y

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 6:33 p.m.

It would be legal to pull a gun but not legal to shoot to protect property. At least that's my understanding.