Woods Police Work to Identify Home Invasion Trio
Grosse Pointe Woods police are enlisting the help of a task force in Warren and Sterling Heights to try to identify the trio of men who entered an elderly couple's home and stole valuable jewelry.
Grosse Pointe Woods police are hopeful a database of known "gypsy" criminals created and maintained in Warren and Sterling Heights may help them identify the three men who stole more than $15,000 in valuable jewelry from an elderly couple last month.
One man knocked on the front door of the Elford Court home Nov. 18 and told the woman he needed to check her water pressure. Meanwhile, another man approached her husband in the driveway and distracted him with a discussion about tree roots in the backyard. The woman allowed the first man to enter after seeing her husband talking with the other man, believing they were legitimate workers. A third man entered the house with the first man several minutes after he first came inside.
Woods Sgt. Raymond Yonkowski said despite Michigan State Police completing sketches of two of the three men, police have not received any tips or possible leads. The couple were able to provide a police sketch artist with enough detail about two of the three men. Both sketches were released late last month.
Meanwhile, detectives sent information about the crime to other metro area police departments, leading to a call from the Warren Police Department, Yonkowski said. They offered to help work on the case using a database of known traveling scam artists, commonly referred to as gypsies, he said.
There are more than 10,000 people in the database that are known to police in the area and detectives are hopeful the three men who stole from the Grosse Pointe Woods couple might be in it, Yonkowski said.
Even if one of the three men were in the database, it would give detectives a lead to investigate, Yonkowski said. The investigation is still active and while detectives have discovered some additional information since the crime, they have not yet made progress on identifying the men, Yonkowski said.
It is still unclear why the men chose this couple or this house but an interview with a neighbor after the crime revealed she had a large man unknown to her knock on her door the same day a short time before they actually entered the Elford Court house, Yonkowski said. That would suggest the men were randomly picking a victim, he said.
The jewelry was likely pawned or sold for cash on the street but finding any leads related to the surfacing of the jewelry is like "finding a needle in a haystack," Yonkowski said. Even if the men pawned it, they likely worked with someone who is less than honest or forthright with police, he said.
The men were described as Hispanic and in their 30s. One was about 5-foot-11 with a medium build and wore dark clothes. Another was 6-foot-2 with a heavy build and wore dark work clothes. The third was 5-foot-9 with a thin build, a beard and wore a tan work coat.
Anyone with information, including the possible identities of the men in the sketches, is asked to call Grosse Pointe Woods Police at 313-343-2400. Anonymous tips are always accepted by Crime Stoppers at 1-800-773-2587.