NORTHVILLE (WWJ) – Police say a 32-year-old Monroe County man in custody after an apparent squatting dispute in Northville could possibly be the suspect wanted for a carjacking and kidnapping that took place over the weekend.
The man was arrested Tuesday morning at a home along River Street, in a neighborhood near 7 Mile Road and Main Street. Police Chief Michael Carlson said officers responded to the scene and discovered that the man was apparently squatting at the home, which was listed for rent.
“We contacted the owner and we had a feeling we knew who the guy was, so in the midst of trying to confirm that information and talking to the homeowner, they wanted the gentleman extracted from the house,” Carlson told WWJ’s Laura Bonnell.
The man was taken into custody at the scene and a dog in his possession was also taken to the pound. After investigating the man further, police discovered that he was wanted for other crimes, including a carjacking and child kidnapping case out of Monroe County.
Monroe Police Sgt. JD Wall said the kidnapping incident happened around 2 p.m. Sunday when a car was stolen from a grocery store with a 2-year-old boy inside.
“A young lady, with her boyfriend’s child in the vehicle, stopped at Towne Square Market,” Wall told WWJ’s Zahra Huber. “She left the car unlocked and running and left the child inside the vehicle while she entered the store to purchase some items.”
When the woman came back outside, a man was in the driver’s seat of her car. She ran after the vehicle but the suspect wasn’t stopping — he fled the scene, perhaps not realizing a child was in the car.
About 20 minutes later, the suspect stopped at a Burger King off of I-275 in Huron Township. Police say he carried the sleeping child inside the restaurant and left him in the bathroom before leaving the scene alone. Workers noticed the child was unattended and called police.
“We were able to reunite the child with his parents,” said Wall. “At that point we had some witnesses to the incident at Towne Square Foods, which confirmed the possible identity of our suspect.”
Detectives got a break in the case Tuesday morning, when they discovered that their kidnapping suspect was involved in some criminal activity in the Northville area.
“They ended up having a location of the suspect and took him into custody, confirming the identity of who we thought that this individual was,” said Wall.
The suspect, whose name was not released, is also wanted for crimes in the Dearborn area, according to police.
Detectives from several agencies are now coordinating their investigations. After interviewing the suspect, police will pass the case on to prosecutors, who will determine possible charges.
Wall said the incident should serve as a reminder to parents that situations like these are completely avoidable.
“A lot of times we learn because of the bad behavior of others, and this is exactly why we don’t [leave children in running vehicles]. As inconvenient as it might be to un-strap a child from their car seat and take them into the store with you, especially when they’re sleeping — I get it — but the bottom line is it was just a split-second decision that totally, in just that short period of time, could have been just an absolute disaster,” said Wall. “Obviously this ended well, as far as the safe return of the child, unharmed and reunited with the parents, but it could have ended much differently.”
An investigation is ongoing.
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