Fake cop arrested after wife found shot in truck

George Hunter
The Detroit News

A motorist flashing a fake police badge and claiming to be out of gas was arrested Wednesday after the plainclothes officer he flagged down spotted the man’s bound and bruised wife in the pickup truck, bleeding from two gunshot wounds.

The incident happened about 2:30 p.m. in a field near Lyford and Gilbo on Detroit’s east side — the same overgrown lot where the bodies of two slain Westland teens were discovered four years ago.

The 35-year-old Hazel Park man was taken into custody, while his 33-year-old wife was being treated at St. John Hospital. Her condition was not known Wednesday afternoon.

The plainclothes Grosse Pointe Park officer, who is assigned to the ACTION multi-jurisdiction stolen car task force, was on patrol when he saw a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado in the field, Assistant Detroit Police Chief Steve Dolunt said.

When the officer parked and walked toward the truck to investigate, the driver’s door swung open.

“The guy jumps out of the truck, pulls out a badge, and says ‘I’m part of the fugitive recovery team; I just need some gas,’ ” Dolunt said. “The officer thought it was suspicious — why would you run out of gas in the middle of a field?”

The officer approached the pickup and saw a woman slumped in the passenger seat, her hands and ankles secured with duct tape. She’d been shot once in each leg and had been severely beaten, Dolunt said.

A pistol and drugs were also found in the truck, Dolunt said. He added the suspect had tossed his wife’s purse and cellphone into the grass before the officer arrived on the scene.

“I’m guessing he was getting ready to finish his act and dispose of the body,” Dolunt said. “But through the grace of God, this officer happened to see something suspicious. He had the cop mentality to say ‘hmm, that’s odd ... this ain’t right.’ So he checked inside the car.

“This is just great police work. He saved the woman’s life.”

Dolunt said his officers have notified Hazel Park police. “They’ll check out their last known address and see if there’s a crime scene there,” he said.

Hazel Park police were unavailable for comment.

Police will have more information about the case Thursday, Dolunt said. Investigators have determined the badge the man used was fake, he said.

In July 2012, a man looking for scrap discovered the bodies of Jacob Kudla, 18, and Jourdan Bobbish, 17, in the same field. The teens had been stripped to their underwear and shot execution style five days after they were reported missing.

“I guess (the suspect involved in Wednesday’s incident) thought it was an opportune place to dump (his wife’s) body, we assume,” Dolunt said.

The incident could have been even worse, he said.

“It could’ve been very dangerous, because (the suspect) had already allegedly shot his wife twice. If he’d have known (the man he flagged down) was a cop, maybe he’d have taken the cop out, too.”


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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN