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Attorney charged in break-in attempt at Royal Oak woman's home had gun, rope, duct tape

Police say the man had a romantic interest in the woman
Posted at 10:36 PM, Jun 04, 2024

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — A 34-year-old attorney has been arrested after police say he attempted to break into a former co-workers home on Smith Avenue in Royal Oak with concerning items on him including a loaded gun, large knife, rope, a hammer, duct tape and latex gloves.

The suspect has been identified as Levi Trahern Smith of Dearborn Heights, an attorney with the law firm of Anthony, Paulovich & Worrall.

Royal Oak police say on June 1 at approximately 1:20 a.m., the woman was startled from her sleep after she discovered a man lurking on her home surveillance, attempting to enter the side door of her home.

A local attorney has been arrested in Royal Oak after attempting to break into a former co-worker's home on June 1, 2024.
A local attorney has been arrested in Royal Oak after attempting to break into a former co-worker's home on June 1, 2024.

She called police and activated an outdoor panic alarm. The man then attempted to walk away but was immediately confronted by two Royal Oak patrol officers.

"She just did everything right. As soon as she realized that there was something going on, she called 911," Royal Oak Police Lt. Rich Millard said. "That panic alarm was another, very good move on her part. That made the suspect walk away and right into the hands of the officers that were arriving on the scene."

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Royal Oak Police Lt. Rich Millard talks about an attempted home invasion. (June 4, 2024)

Smith was wearing latex gloves when police arrived, he had another pair in the backpack along with the other concerning items. The Royal Oak police investigation revealed the suspect was a former co-worker of the victim and had exhibited a romantic interest in her in the past and targeted her.

7 News Detroit ran into the woman on Smith Avenue. She was understandably too shaken up to speak on camera. However, neighbors are also shocked by the circumstances surrounding the attempted break-in in the quiet neighborhood.

"Pretty bad intentions," neighbor Dan Granger said. “This guy needs help."

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Dan Granger talks about an attempted home invasion in Royal Oak. (June 4, 2024)

Police wouldn't elaborate on the relationship of the two individuals further and the history of the suspect, saying it is still an active investigation. Smith has been charged with first-degree attempted home invasion and felony firearm, which is a maximum seven-year sentence.

“I am relieved that the victim was vigilant and contacted law enforcement immediately,” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said. “Without the victim’s call to 911 and the work of the Royal Oak police, this situation could have been far worse.”

7 News Detroit reached out to the law firm of Anthony, Paulovich & Worrall regarding the employment of the suspect. In a statement, the law firm said:

"On Monday, June 3 we learned of an unfortunate incident that transpired over the weekend concerning a former member of our staff. Firm leadership acted swiftly, and Mr. Levi Smith is no longer employed by Anthony, Paulovich & Worrall. We will not be commenting further as there is an ongoing investigation and any questions should be referred to the Oakland County Prosecutors office. We sincerely hope the victim in this situation receives the support they need and begin the process of healing. 
Anthony, Paulovich & Worrall remains committed to providing its clients with the high-quality, compassionate, and ethical advocacy they rely on."

- Spokesperson Jared Rodriguez
The law firm of Anthony, Paulovich & Worrall's Dearborn location. (June 4, 2024)
The law firm of Anthony, Paulovich & Worrall's Dearborn location. (June 4, 2024)

"An attorney’s supposed to be a respected member of the community, right? Not creepy," neighbor Chris Lyon said.

Even though police believe this was an isolated incident, Lyon says the community still plans on being more diligent moving forward.

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Chris Lyon talks about an attempted home invasion that happened in Royal Oak. (June 4, 2024)

“This kind of was a neighborhood where you really didn’t (lock doors) and now, we’re going to have to do that a little bit more," he added.

Smith was arraigned on Tuesday at 44th District Court. Bond was set at $25,000. A probable cause conference is scheduled for June 14.