As Grosse Pointe Shores Department of Public Safety continues to investigate a rash of three burglaries that happened within 10 days in January, the director wants to remind residents to call anything in they believe to be suspicious.
"Call us, even things that seem mundane," Director John Schulte said. "If a vehicle slows down in front of your house or idles in a neighbors driveway for a moment--call us, immediately."
Schulte said calling in the moment is more helpful to the investigation. Officers will investigate the suspicious circumstances, and ideally arrive while the vehicle is still present so they may identify the driver and anyone inside the car, Schulte said. Sometimes those are the calls that lead to a break in the case, Schulte said.
The burglars are entering homes and are likely inside for less than a minute gathering small items they can fit into backpacks, Schulte said.
The department has received many calls since he put out a press release last week asking residents to be aware and to call in, he said. The calls, however, have been belated in that residents are reporting behavior they believe is suspicious hours or even days later, Schulte said.
While that information could have been helpful in the moment, it does not help move the investigation forward in the same manner, Schulte said. One report included information about a pair of people with a child who approached a home offering to shovel the driveway--an action that is similar to what has happened in the burglaries, Schulte said.
There have not been any additional burglaries since the rash in January, Schulte said. It is unclear whether the group has moved somewhere else or taken a break, he said.
Scheduling of the small department's staff has been adjusted to increase patrols and to have special surveillance detail, Schulte said. The investigation into the burglaries have taken priority, he said.
The crimes are significant in the Shores, which experienced three burglaries in all of 2012. Even that number was high for the year, according to trends in the years previous. Schulte also provided a list of measures residents may implement to help ensure their homes are less identifiable when they are on vacation or away for extended periods of time.
At least one motorist has been stopped and identified after a patrol officer spotted the person driving a vehicle that matched the description of one of the getaway vehicles involved in the crimes--a burgandy Trailblazer. The officer confirmed the identity of the driver, who had been at a relative's home in the Shores and was driving home when he was stopped.
The driver did not have anything in his SUV that would indicate he had been doing anything illegal and he was alone--a fact that does not match the scenerios in the three burglaries.
His information was gathered and entered into the system and then he was allowed to go on his way, according to a report.
Police have provided a partial description of the burglars: two men in their late teens or early 20s carrying backpacks in addition to the driver, for whom there is not a description.
The vehicles involved may include: a smaller SUV, a maroon Trailblazer and a full-sized dark-colored sedan.
Anyone spotting anything suspicious is asked to call 911 immediately.