Police: Man shovels snow, assaults and robs woman

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — A 20-year-old man who volunteered to shovel an elderly woman's snow Thursday had a violent ulterior motive, police said.

After shoveling the snow in front of the 72-year-old victim's west-side home, the suspect — who had pleaded guilty last month to carrying a concealed weapon — assaulted the woman and stole her car, Detroit police Cpl. Dan Donakowski said.

The man, who in December posted $250 bail for the weapons charge, was arrested about two hours after Thursday's alleged assault, when he crashed the stolen car into another vehicle, Donakowski said.

The incident started about 3 p.m. in the 19000 block of Lauder Street, near Eight Mile and Greenfield.

"The suspect and the victim had a discussion about shoveling her snow, and she said she didn't have money to pay him," Donakowski said. "It appears he ended up shoveling her snow anyway.

"After that, there was a confrontation outside the house, and the suspect assaulted the woman and drove away with her car," he said.

The woman was taken to a hospital, where she was listed in stable condition, Donakowski said.

Officers obtained a neighbor's surveillance video of the incident and began searching for the victim's stolen vehicle, which they found about two hours later, he said.

When the officers pulled up behind the stolen car, the driver took off and crashed into another vehicle near Seven Mile and Rutherford, less than a mile from the victim's house, Donakowski said.

The driver of the other vehicle did not report any injuries, and the suspect was arrested without further incident, Donakowski said.

The suspect, whose name is being withheld because he has not been charged, pleaded guilty last month to carrying a concealed weapon, court records show. He was scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 20.

Carjackings in Detroit were down 21% in 2019 over the previous year, but so far in 2020, they're up  36%, police officials said. Robberies, which saw a 1% rise in 2019 over 2018, are up by 21% this year.


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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN