While We Are on the Subject of Really Good Work……

On July 4, 2015 at 1:49 a.m., dispatch received a call from a resident that he observed a white box truck on Dexter with markings indicating that it was owned by Oakland Christian School with subjects loading a motorcycle into it.  The caller thought it was suspicious and so did we. The truck was a mile or so from the school building and we had never known it to be out this late at night.

Officers checked the area looking for the truck but didn’t find it on Dexter.  Officer Mike Miller was on an arrest at N/B 75 & the M24 interchange and saw the box truck moving S/B 75 at the interchange.

Sergeant Jim Stoinski caught up to the vehicle along with Officer Emily Frederick.  They followed the vehicle on S/B I-75 past Rochester Road, where it was stopped and the driver was taken into custody with the assistance of Troy P.D.

The stolen motorcycles in the police garage.
Stolen motorcycles in the police garage.

A  window of the truck was shattered and the ignition punched out to make it possible to start the truck without a key.  In the back were 4 motorcycles and one moped.

We arrested the driver of the truck but we knew that there was another vehicle that was involved and was following the box truck.  Unfortunately we were unable to get this vehicle stopped.

Here is the most interesting part for me:

Because every spring we have thefts of motorcycles the midnight shift had determined that they were going to formulate a strategy to stop this problem.  So for several months Sergeant Stoinski and the officers on his midnight shift had assigned themselves the task of identifying motorcycles in all apartments complexes in the city.   Each officer was assigned to a specific group of apartment complexes.  So each day officers checked “their” motorcycles and notified the sergeant  so they could keep track and investigate further.   When the box truck was opened on I-75, Officer Frederick  immediately identified that these were motorcycles from Auburn Hills and was able to tell where 2 of them belonged.   This is particularly important because the officers on the scene in the middle of the night had to prove that the motorcycles had owners that weren’t the guy driving the truck.  This is the “probable cause” they needed to make the arrest.

And of course we couldn’t have done it without the initial tip from the resident about the truck on Dexter.  Much of our best activity comes from a tip from a resident.  If it looks suspicious give us a call –we want to check it out.

We were glad to make the case and get people back their motorcycles – undamaged and quickly.  And we hope that the co criminals in the car that we couldn’t catch will think twice before coming back to our town.

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I'm the Chief of Police for the Auburn Hills Police Department.