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Attempted abduction reported; OCSO responds



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January 16, 2013 - Police are reminding citizens to be extra vigilant after a woman who was sitting in her vehicle in a local business parking lot was approached by a strange man who then reached inside her car window.

"Be very careful when you are approached by strangers—you don't know their motives," said Oakland County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Pete Burkett. "If it's someone you don't know, keep your door locked and talk through a closed window, or if it's very suspicious, call 9-1-1."

Burkett issued this advice after he and Detective Dale Brown of the Brandon substation responded to the incident, initially believed to be an attempted abduction. The 9-1-1 call came at about 11:42 a.m., Jan. 10, from the parking lot of the Rite-Aid Pharmacy, 1351 S. Ortonville Road, in Groveland Township. Michigan State Police troopers are to provide protection to Groveland residents, but had no units available to respond to the call of an attempted abduction and requested the assistance of the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

Burkett and Brown received information from 9-1-1 dispatch that the suspect had fled the area eastbound on Glass Road in a dark-colored GMC Yukon. They located the suspect in the Eagle Pointe Plaza on S. Ortonville Road, at the corner of Glass Road, and blocked his vehicle in.

They approached the suspect, who said he was out driving around and stopped for a cigarette in the parking lot. Looking in the rear window of the vehicle, they observed the seats were folded down and there was a blue tarp inside.

When the officers questioned the man about what had occurred in the Rite-Aid parking lot, the suspect said he saw a woman who looked upset sitting in her vehicle and he approached to ask her if she was OK. When she rolled her window down a few inches, he touched her hand to comfort her, he said, just trying to "be nice." He denied any other intent.

The woman told the officers she was sitting in her car when she noticed the man a few cars away waving his arms, but she did not pay attention as she didn't recognize him. She had her head down for a few moments and when she looked up, he was standing outside her window, waving and asking her to roll down her window. She put the window down a few inches and told her he needed to help her because she appeared to be having a bad day. He then reached in and grabbed her hand. She pulled away and said he was bringing his other hand up, but she managed to roll the window up. She then called her boyfriend, who was inside the Rite-Aid. Meanwhile, she said the suspect walked in the store, walked right back out, and stood in front of her vehicle. He then got back in his Yukon and stared at her until her boyfriend came out and then took off. They followed while on the phone with the 9-1-1 operator.

A search of the suspect's vehicle found a plastic bag with wadded up tissues and two tubes of personal lubricant in the front driver's area as well as a pornographic magazine under the driver's seat.

The suspect has had two previously documented police contacts—one from 2011 when he was allegedly stalking an employee at the Salvation Army store in Independence Township, and more recently last month, when Waterford Township police identified him as exposing himself in the parking lot of a Dollar Tree store on Dixie Highway. The suspect is also believed to be involved in several other December incidents in Waterford, but has not responded to police interview requests.

The suspect was released pending further investigation.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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