Two of three men believed to be involved in a string of crimes that began Wednesday night in Birmingham and stretched into Bloomfield Hills by Thursday morning are in custody, police said.
One of the suspects, a 24-year-old Detroit resident, was arrested by Bloomfield Township police officers shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday while he tried to flee a vehicle that was later determined to be stolen, reports said. The arrest started a whirlwind investigation into several crimes believed to be committed by the same group overnight that includes three stolen vehicles, two residential burglaries, an attempted car-jacking and a late-night crash at .
in Birmingham and Our Lady Queen of Martyrs school in Beverly Hills were temporarily locked down Thursday morning while police searched the area of Bird Avenue and Edgewood for a man wearing gray pants and a blue vest jacket. He was not located.
Caller Tips Off Police
According to a statement released by the Birmingham Police Department on Thursday afternoon, the action began around 11 p.m. Wednesday when a Bloomfield Village resident reported suspicious activity near Pine and Chesterfield.
Bloomfield Township police responded to the scene and saw a car driving around the neighborhood that matched the description of a vehicle stolen from West Lincoln Avenue in Birmingham Monday night. At one point, police said the car stopped near the intersection of Raynale and Fairfax, and three men began running away from the car. Officers apprehended the 24-year-old suspect in connection with the stolen car.
Birmingham Police Cmdr. Terry Kiernan said the timeline there grows fuzzy. Around midnight, a resident from the 1000 block of Chesterfield reported items had been taken from their car that night, while another burglary was reported shortly thereafter on the 500 block of Westwood. Both streets are only two blocks away from each other.
Meanwhile, around 2 a.m., Bloomfield Hills police reported that a car stolen in Birmingham had been discovered on a residential street near the intersection of Woodward and Big Beaver.
The car, it turned out, belonged to a resident on the 1000 block of Brookwood — almost exactly in-between the two incidents on Chesterfield and Westwood. When police visited the Brookwood home, it was discovered that someone had entered the unlocked car — parked in the resident's driveway — sometime between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. The suspect then used the garage door opener to open the garage door and enter the home. Several items were taken from the home, though the resident — who was home and asleep at the time — was unaware the incident had occurred.
Bloomfield Hills police said items taken from the Brookwood home as well as the car parked on Chesterfield were discovered in the recovered vehicle. Meanwhile, Bloomfield Hills police said another car had been taken that night near where the Brookwood car was abandoned, in a Bloomfield Hills neighborhood.
Kiernan said the Bloomfield Hills car was later discovered at The Community House around 3 a.m., where it was used to crash through the metal fence off Chester Street. The car was discovered abandoned and any suspects had already left the area when police arrived, Kiernan said. More property that had been taken from the Brookwood home was found in this second car.
Kiernan said police brought in a K-9 unit, who tracked the suspect or suspects to the intersection of Northlawn and Lincoln. However, police were unable to find anything and abandoned the search at around 4 a.m.
Second man arrested after car-jacking attempt
The next morning, around 9 a.m., a woman living near the intersection of Northlawn and Bates reported that while she was walking to her car, a man attempted to steal it. No weapon was seen, the woman said, but one was implied. The man ran away before taking the car and after the woman called 911, Birmingham police rushed to the scene.
During the ensuing investigation, a tip led police to the area around Pierce Elementary, where a suspicious man was spotted. After a short foot chase, police apprehended the 21-year-old Detroit man near Bird Avenue and Edgewood Street.
From around 9-10 a.m., Pierce Elementary and Queen of Martyrs school were placed on lockdown. Students led a normal day, Pierce Principal Jim Lalik said, but were restricted from going outdoors.
Kiernan said police believe the two men, in addition to a still-missing third, are responsible for the crime spree. He said police searched the neighborhood — north from 14 Mile to Lincoln, and east from Southfield to Grant — Thursday morning, but discovered nothing.
Police from Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township and Beverly Hills continue to investigate the thefts. Anyone with information is encouraged to call 248-644-3400.