News

77-year-old Dearborn Heights resident escapes during home invasion; police catch suspect in the act

Posted at 2:51 PM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 23:09:34-04

(WXYZ) — Dearborn Heights police say a home invasion suspect was caught in the act after the quick-thinking actions of the homeowner and her neighbor.

Police say a 77-year-old resident called 911 from a neighbor’s home at 6 a.m. on July 27 reporting that two men forced their way into her home on Evangeline Street stating they were armed. She was reportedly able to escape and run to her neighbor’s house during the incident.

“This is a wake up call for the whole neighborhood,” said neighbor Farouk Harajli.

While the rest of the neighborhood was woken up by police sirens, Harajli’s family was woken up earlier by that 77-year-old woman, banging on the door.

“She didn't panic too much, she was able to stay alert,” Harajli said.

The woman used their phone to call 911 with descriptions of the suspects, who had told her they were armed and to stay put. Harajli says she was able to play sick, and pretend to use the bathroom.

"She really was alert, she made herself like she was getting sick and she wanted to go to the bathroom and apparently she was able to get out the back door and come running across the street here,” Harajli said.

“Very, very important on having good relationships with your neighbors," said Dearborn Heights Police Chief Jarrod Hart. "6 o'clock in the morning and someone is banging on your door? They had a great relationship there.”

Hart says officers arrived in under two minutes, finding one suspect in the driveway in a ski mask. They also recovered the vehicle, two handguns and another face mask as the other suspect got away.

“It's an isolated incident. We have one person in custody and we do have a second suspect we hope to take into custody in the coming days,” Hart said. “We have a very good person of interest that we’re looking at right now and I'm confident our investigators will be relentless in identifying that second suspect and bringing them to justice as well.”

Hart says they don’t know for sure why her home was targeted.

“It's kind of a mystery right now," Hart said. "We don't know of any ties right now, if this was random or how they identified this particular house.”

“Thank God again that she wasn't harmed and she was able to make it over here,” Harajli said.

Michael Clegg of Taylor, 33, was arraigned on an armed robbery charge and other charges related to the case on July 29, according to police.

“The teamwork displayed by dispatchers and police officers was exceptional. I am very proud of all of our staff for their coordinated response, but specifically want to recognize Dispatchers Sloan-Demetriou and Barba, and Sgt. Stephens for their actions,” said Hart in a press release.

Anyone with information regarding the second suspect is asked to call police at 313-277-7487 or 1-800-SPEAK-UP.