Cops: DTE worker robbed while watching downed line

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

A DTE Energy worker guarding a downed power line on Detroit’s west side was the victim of an armed robbery early Wednesday morning, police said.

DTE spokesman Michael Lynch announced Wednesday that the company is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

Which would be $998 more than the $2 the suspect left with.

The worker, a 40-year-old man, was inside a work truck, guarding a downed power line in the area of Howell and Joy Road when he heard a tap on his window, according to police. This was about 3:30 a.m.

The victim is a part of DTE Energy's public safety response team. Workers on that team usually work in an office setting, but can provide an assist when there are threats to the public, such as a downed power line.

The tapping sound was made by a gun. The man who held it ordered the worker to get out of the truck and made him lay face-down, then rifled through his pockets, taking an “undisclosed” amount of money before fleeing on foot, Detroit police spokeswoman Kenyetta Hebron said.

Lynch said only $2 was taken, and that workers in the field are instructed not to carry cash to avoid being targeted.

The downed power line has since been removed, DTE spokeswoman Stephanie Beres said.

Police describe the suspect as a black male, about 30, 5 feet 8 inches tall, 150 pounds. He was wearing a tan bubble coat and carrying a gun, Hebron said.

As of 9 a.m. Thursday, some 28,000 DTE customers remain without power, due to high winds overnight. At the peak of the windstorm, some 70,000 customers were without power.