DTE Energy is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to suspects in three armed robberies of utility crews tending to storm-related repairs in Detroit.

The first incident was reported Saturday afternoon near Schoolcraft and Southfield Freeway on the city’s west side, said Michael Lynch, chief security officer at the utility.

“Several of our workers were held up at gunpoint and ordered to give up all their cash and I believe a cellphone,” he said.

After police were called, workers continued restoration efforts with a security presence in that area, Lynch said.

Then, about 4:30 p.m. Monday, about four line workers on Muirland near Livernois and McNichols were retrieving parts from a vehicle when, Lynch said, an armed man approached asking: “Do you know what time it is?” They also were ordered to give up cash, he said.

Less than two hours later, a third crew faced a similar incident. An armed suspect matching the description of the man in the second hold-up also demanded cash from five employees working several miles away, on Lauder near Seven Mile and the Lodge, Lynch said.

Due to the crimes, security was expected to accompany crews pursuing restorations Tuesday, he said. Some security also was available Monday night, but fewer crews were working then, Lynch said.

He stressed that utility employees do not carry cash from customers on the job and are advised not to tote items considered valuable.

Still, suspects in the trio of armed robberies face an enhanced penalty under state legislation passed in recent years that addresses targeting utility workers, Lynch said. “We have every intent to make sure they’re persecuted and spend time in prison, not jail.”

A full description of the suspect in Saturday’s incident was not available, said Sgt. Cassandra Lewis, a spokeswoman for the Detroit Police Department.

The suspect in the Monday robberies is described as a black man between 20 and 30 years old, 6 feet tall, 160-180 pounds, with a dark complexion and dreadlocks.

Anyone with information is asked to call DTE security at (313) 235-9113 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

Read or Share this story: