By Charles Sercombe
Months of surveillance paid off for Hamtramck police investigators – and for residents as well.
In the last three weeks, investigators busted two break-in crews that are believed to be responsible for dozens of home break-ins. All it took was some old school police work and a little overtime pay.
Detective Sergeant Dan Misiak gave us the lowdown on what happened. Starting back on Feb. 3 at 10:40 a.m., a call came into the Police Department about a break-in in progress at the 12000 block of Moran St.
Although officers arrived within minutes, there was no one in the house. But officers Brian Misiak and Dave Cornwell both noticed shoe tracks in the snow and followed the trail to a house on the 12000 block of Klinger.
Outside the house was a man described as being “out of breath.” Officers began questioning the suspect when another man walked out of the house. Officers took that man aside, and after comparing the shoe soles to the snow prints, they had their suspects in custody.
The owner of the house gave officers permission to search the house. Once inside, officers discovered stolen goods from the Moran St. house and another suspect.
The following suspects have already been arraigned for breaking into a house and possessing stolen items:
Martez Murry, 21, and his brother, Markee Murry, 19. Both live with their mother in the house on Klinger St.
Also arrested was Marquis Loury, 22, of Detroit.
All have failed to post bond and are in Wayne County Jail awaiting trial.
Misiak said investigators had been watching the Klinger St. house for several weeks where the suspects were found. It was a case of police nabbing them sooner or later.
Just a few days after that arrest, on Feb. 8, investigators were watching a house in the southeast section of the city at about 10 a.m. when a group of home break-in suspects left the house and hit the street.
Investigators briefly lost sight of the group but then moments later saw them again on Conant near Edwin, carrying a computer and television. A home break-in was then just reported on a house at Edwin.
The suspects, three men, then got into a car that pulled up, and drove to a computer store on Caniff. An investigator also entered the store, but one of the suspects recognized him and picked up a computer from the counter and got back into the car.
While investigators followed the car, one investigator checked out a store on Conant where he thought he saw one suspect enter while carrying an item. Sure enough, a television stolen from the Edwin St. house was found.
Meanwhile, the suspects then tried to unload the computer at a pawn shop on Jos. Campau that is owned by a brother of one of the suspects.
That item was recovered by investigators. The car was pulled over and the following suspects were arrested:
Stephen Shakkuri, 33, of Sterling Heights. He is the brother of the pawn shop owner and was the driver of the car. Shakkuri has a lengthy criminal record and faces life in prison for being a habitual offender.
Sgt. Misiak said Shakkuri is also subject to being deported to his native Iraq.
Also arrested were Ezekiel Johnson, 20, of Hamtramck, Gevonte Harkness, 20, of Hamtramck and Dvonte McAllister, 18, of Hamtramck.
McAllister was arrested about a month ago in Hamtramck for breaking into a police decoy car. He is on probation for that offense and will now have to revisit that charge as well.
Misiak said all but two of the suspects in both arrests have confessed. Misiak also added both investigations needed special overtime to stake out the suspects. All non-emergency police overtime was halted by the City Council several weeks ago because of the city’s looming budget deficit.
Only emergency overtime is allowed.
Since the arrests, Misiak said the number of reported break-ins have dropped by 50 percent.
“These two crews did major damage in town,” Misiak said.
Misiak gave credit to the help of officers on regular patrol as well as those working overtime on the city’s special traffic patrol program for providing critical back-up.
Both break-in crews worked during the daylight. Their method of breaking in involved an all too common trick: one or more of the suspects knocks on the front door then walks away while a lookout stays behind. If there is no answer to the door, the crew comes back and busts through a window in the back or through the back door.
Police stress that with so many residents at work during the day, it is critical to report any suspicious activity as soon as possible.