STERLING HEIGHTS (WWJ) - Police in Sterling Heights say two men were arrested after one of them walked into a jewelry store, asked to try on a Rolex watch and then fled to an awaiting vehicle without paying for the expensive timepiece.
Martell Raynard Byrd, of Detroit, and 46-year-old Aundra Lewis, of Warren, were taken into custody on Saturday and are now both facing a felony charge of unarmed robbery. If convicted as charged, they face up to 15 years in jail. Both are due back in court on Nov. 14 for a preliminary examination.
Police say their investigation into the two began after officers were called to Dominic’s Fine Jewelry store, near Schoenherr and Hall roads, on Oct. 16 on reports of a larceny that just occurred. Employees at the store said two black males, later identified as Byrd and Lewis, entered the store and asked to try on watches.
At some point, Lewis exited the store and returned to his vehicle, according to police. After his accomplice left the store, police say Byrd, who was looking at a $18,000 Rolex, took the watch, pushed the sales associate back and ran to Lewis’ awaiting vehicle.
Witnesses were able to grab a partial license plate number before the crooks drove away and investigators tracked the vehicle to Lewis. Police then obtained a warrant for Lewis for aiding and abetting an unarmed robbery.
During their investigation, police discovered that Byrd and Lewis had been to several other jewelry stores in the city asking to look at expensive watches.
Police say they received a tip that the partners in crime had an appointment to meet with a sales associate of Howard’s Discount Fine Jewelry, on Van Dyke Avenue in Sterling Heights, on Nov. 3. Plain-clothes officers were present outside the business when Byrd and Lewis arrived and took them into custody without incident.
Police were not immediately able to verify Byrd’s age.