2 arrested after theft of guns in brazen daylight home invasion
Two people were arrested Thursday after breaking into an Ypsilanti Township home and stealing a small arsenal of weapons, deputies said Friday.
Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Geoffrey Fox said someone spotted three teenagers walking in the 300 block of Elder Street in Ypsilanti Township with a gun case and other items at 12:30 p.m. Thursday and called police.
Fox said sheriff’s office deputies and Ypsilanti Police Department officers checked the area and found one of the suspects at a residence and arrested another after a short foot chase.
Bill Riney, the owner of the home that was broken into, said he wasn’t home at the time of the break-in but got a call from a neighbor alerting him that unfamiliar people were at his home. Riney said he returned and called 911, and deputies quickly came to the scene.
The daylight break-in stunned Riney.
“I was shocked, the brazenness of it,” he said. “They went through a window anyone driving down the street could see them falling through.”
Riney said there’s been a small rash of home invasions happening in his neighborhood during the last few days. He said his neighbor’s sister’s home had been broken into recently and residents in the area have been on high alert.
The fact that neighbors were looking out for each other and reporting suspicious individuals in a home was a major factor in the quick police response, Riney said.
Within minutes, the deputies were tracking down the suspects. Riney said he listened to deputies and Ypsilanti officers chase the suspects on a police scanner and was left impressed by the effort
“They were highly professional,” he said.
Fox said the teenagers took two shotguns and a rifle, along with a jar of change from Riney’s home. The items were recovered and at least one of the shotguns has already been returned to Riney.
One of the arrested suspects was a juvenile and turned over to his parents. The other, a 17-year-old male, was held at the Washtenaw County Detention Center on juvenile warrants, Fox said.
Riney is known locally as “The Free Hot Dog Man” for distributing hot dogs in the Ypsilanti area and has campaigned for state office. He’s also staged one-man protests that include climbing into trees to prevent them from being cut down and climbing the Washtenaw County Administration Building to protest unemployment.