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Posted on Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 3:21 p.m.

Man accused of robbing EMU student is held on $100,000 bond

By Lee Higgins

A man accused of stealing an Eastern Michigan University student's backpack and punching the student repeatedly in the face after being confronted about it, is being held at the Washtenaw County Jail on a $100,000 cash or surety bond.

Jeremiah K. Sawyer, 17, of Ypsilanti Township, was arraigned this afternoon at the jail on a charge of unarmed robbery.

He is accused of walking into the Warner Building on campus about 8:10 p.m. Wednesday, along with two other men, and taking a backpack from the gymnastics room, university police said. The backpack had a laptop computer, iPod and other items inside, police said.

Jeremiah Kena Sawyer.jpg


When the 21-year-old victim confronted Sawyer after following him outside, police said Sawyer punched him at least 4 times, including at least twice in the face.

The victim ultimately recovered the backpack and flagged down an officer, while others also called police. Officers responded to West Circle Drive and arrested Sawyer near the intersection of Ann Street and North Huron River Drive, police said.

The victim suffered pain to his head and was evaluated later that night at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and released. More recently, he has suffered pain in his neck and has been somewhat traumatized by the incident, police said.

Sawyer was recently paroled after being convicted of robbery in Lucas County, Ohio. Police said he provided a false name when he was arrested.

The other two men are not expected to face charges in the robbery.

Magistrate Thomas Truesdell set the bond and ordered that Sawyer not return to campus or have contact with the victim. Police also issued a trespass notice, prohibiting Sawyer from returning to school property.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 6.

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at



Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 2:06 a.m.

There is a reason for the 100k bond that the news may not know or can't print.


Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

The defender will cry, "Oh, what a poor impoverished background he had" (whether he had one or not--to quote WEST SIDE STORY, "Hey, I'm depraved on account of I'm deprived") and he'll probably get off with a short sentence and probation! Of course we can't assume he's guilty, make any generalizations, etc. or you'll remove it. You're getting so "civilized" that we can't say anything.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

I think the 100K bond kind of foreshadows what's in store for Mr Sawyer...


Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 3:44 p.m. referred to the robber in the initial article as a "boy" now it seems he's a "man". Must have had a growth spurt.


Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 3:40 a.m.

Sorry to hear the victim suffered injuries, it is good that her went to the hospital to get checked out. I can believe he was traumatized, and still having neck pain. Wishing him smooth recovery. I have nothing to add about the 17 year old thug!


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 10:02 p.m.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but why is it when a minority commits a crime wastes little time posting their mug shot, but yet when a white person does the same there's usually no mug shot? The 2 examples that come to mind are the drunk-driving incidents this spring/summer on Mast Road and Huron River Drive where people were seriously injured or killed - you mean to tell me neither of those people were arraigned & had their picture taken by the local authorities? Is there a difference with driving offenses that I'm missing, or is it something else?


Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 11:54 a.m.

I agree with you. Also we cannot presume guilt and posts his mugshot. Methinks they speak with forked tongue.


Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 12:14 a.m.

While I see your point, I have noticed it is very rare to see mug shots of drunk drivers on, or should i say "alleged". It's usually not until after a few articles about said accident does a mug shot surface.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 10:45 p.m.

@b_ketch, I can't specifically disagree with what you're suggesting since I don't know much about those two articles, but I do remember the mug shot of the guy who ran over the ducklings with the Hummer. I would hope is trying to be as fair as possible.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 9:41 p.m.

And our courts will take a plea for trespass. Does anyone else see a pattern here ?


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 9:21 p.m.

Should have been an assault charge, at the very least, in addition to unarmed robbery. A guy like this with a rap sheet is well on his way to bigger and "better" crimes. If they don't through the book at him now for being a repeat offender, it's only going to get worse for this early career criminal.


Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

@eep that is correct, see my response to John of Saline.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 9:28 p.m.

Pretty sure that assault is a lesser included offense to unarmed robbery. They have to charge one or the other - they can't charge both. Since unarmed robbery carries a longer possible sentence, it seems like they made the right choice.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 8:48 p.m.

"When the 21-year-old victim confronted Sawyer after following him outside, police said Sawyer punched him at least 4 times, including at least twice in the face." How come the police can make a statement assuming guilt and you print it, but if any commentors do, it's removed? I mean, c'mon fair is fair... But then again, Sawyer was recently paroled after being convicted in Ohio....and he's 17? A prodigy I'd say....

Matt Cooper

Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 3:40 p.m.

Well, let's see. The police can make such statements because they took a direct statement from the victim as well as other witnesses. You cannot make such statements because a). You weren't there, b). You didn't witness the assault, c). You weren't the victim of the assault and d). There is nothing factual in any opinions you might offer as to the guilt, or lack thereof, of the suspect. Seems pretty simple to me.


Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

I find it hard to equate the police making a statement of fact, that Sawyer punched the victim four times according to the victim, as the same kind of statements of presumed guilt that are routinely censored here at, LOL


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 8:23 p.m.

That was really smart.

John of Saline

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 8:21 p.m.

No assault charge?


Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 2:33 p.m.

Unarmed robbery IS an assault charge (all robberies armed or unarmed contain an assault element) per Michigan statute. charging him with an additional count of simple assault (93 day misdemenor) would be like charging a drunk driver with an additional count of improper tire tread.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 7:39 p.m.

I'm certain Mr. Sawyer will take this incident to heart and use it as a positive learning experience. I suggest a strongly worded lecture would be sufficient enough punishment....


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 8:11 p.m.

I love a little sarcasm at the end of the day.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 7:38 p.m.

oh well, a trespass notice...that'll fixit! well on the way down his chosen career path it seems.. well finishing school courtesy of the state is likely in the near future...


Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 2:56 p.m.

There are some who cannot be rehabbed....but there are also some who initially COULD be rehabbed. We do the same thing over and over again and expect different results? We know what THAT means!


Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 1:33 p.m.

your premise is based on rehabilitation and these animals getting out and is therefore faulty. Exile, penal colonies a la Australia, think escape from New York, would put that to rest wouldn't it?


Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 11:52 a.m.

Rice,exactly the problem, isn't it? Rehabilitation in prison is non-existent. Thus we get exactly what we ask for and pay for...more crime.


Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 3:20 a.m.

No he'll be finishing training to be a criminal. The other criminals in prison will be teaching


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 9:38 p.m.

I thought he meant like a "finishing school", manners, etc... and was being sarcastic, but i could be wrong. Is that inmate/college course rule universal or just in Michigan?


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 8:52 p.m.

Not sure if you are aware that inmates are not allowed to take college courses unless they personally can pay for them. Thus, no, there will be no rehab.