Woman accused in armed robbery of ex-boyfriend

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Fraser — A 22-year-old woman was arraigned Thursday on an armed robbery charge after she and two accomplices allegedly robbed her ex-boyfriend at a local motel earlier this month, police said.

Nicole Birkenshaw

Officials on Thursday released names and photographs of the two alleged accomplices who remain on the run after a 22-year-old man was robbed around 12:30 p.m. Jan. 3 at the M-97 Motel on the 31000 block of Groesbeck Highway.

Police are asking the public’s help locating Roseville residents Joseph Culp, 32, and Jason Culp, 35. Both have been charged with armed robbery.

Joseph Culp

Eastpointe resident Nicole Birkenshaw was arrested Wednesday and admitted to detectives her involvement in the attack, police said. She also implicated Joseph and Jason Culp, who are brothers. She was charged with armed robbery and given a $20,000 bond at arraignment.

“We’re actively looking for them. We think they’re homeless now,” Detective Lieutenant Dan Kolke said of the Culp brothers. “(Birkenshaw) is claiming that she doesn’t know where they are. We’ve checked all our area motels in different cities around us.”

Kolke said the department hopes the brothers’ prominent tattoos will help locate them. Jason Culp has a large, winged tattoo on his throat while Joseph Culp has tattoos on the sides of his neck.

“They stand out pretty good,” Kolke said. “We’re hoping somebody with either know them or recognize those tattoos.”

Birkenshaw is accused of accompanying her ex-boyfriend to the hotel prior to the alleged robbery. The victim told police that Birkenshaw was texting someone as the pair entered the hotel room. Approximately 20 minutes later, the victim answered a knock at the door and two men immediately entered the room.

The men later were identified by Birkenshaw as Joseph and Jason Culp, police said. They allegedly ordered the victim to hand over everything he had on him.

Jason Culp

Joseph Culp was armed with a box cutter and Jason Culp held a large kitchen-type knife, police said. Joseph Culp hit the victim several times in the face as Jason Culp held the victim down, police said.

During the attack, Birkenshaw allegedly struck the victim in the back of the head.

The trio is accused of stealing the victim’s shirt, shoes, hat, jewelry, cellphone and $600 cash. They fled in an older-model blue Cadillac, which later was located by detectives in St. Clair Shores. The vehicle was abandoned with a flat tire.

The victim was able to identify Joseph Culp from a photo line-up, police said.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Joseph and/or Jason Culp is asked to contact the Fraser Department of Public Safety at (586) 293-1425. Anonymous tipsters may contact Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 1 (800) SPEAK-UP.

HFournier@detroitnews.com

(313) 223-4616

@HollyPFournier