Man charged in Oakland County robberies, police chase

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

The scene seems straight out of a movie: a blue truck weaves wildly across a road, blowing past a traffic light and refusing to stop for the police car trying to pull it over.


The driver had been accused of robbing a gas station in Troy, police said.

But the man was wanted for another crime: Oakland County Sheriff’s officials accused the man of holding up a 7-Eleven store two weeks earlier.

Shaun Edward Benns, 38, of Pontiac was charged this week for both incidents and “is also being investigated as a suspect in several other area armed robberies,” police announced Thursday.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said a man walked into a 7-Eleven on the 1100 block of Baldwin at about 2:20 a.m. July 10 armed with a knife and his face covered in a blue cloth.

“Witnesses stated that the suspect had taken their cellphones and had placed them on a nearby counter. The suspect had exposed a knife, which was located in his waist band, and threatened to harm them if they made any attempt to call for help,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement at the time. “The store clerk handed over the cash register drawer to the suspect, and he proceeded in taking cash from the drawer.”

The suspect fled the store after snatching the money and shoving the cash drawer across the counter, officials said.

Deputies searched the area for him with help from a K-9. They also learned Auburn Hills police responded to an armed robbery earlier that evening “with the responsible fitting the same suspect description,” according to the Sheriff’s Office. An alert was issued to surrounding police agencies.

About 8 p.m. July 24, police say a suspect wielded a screwdriver to demand a clerk at the Clark gas station in the 6900 block of Rochester Road take money from the cash register.

The perpetrator “obtained the money, ordered the clerk to the ground and then fled the scene,” police said.

Troy officers responded to the scene and investigators provided information about the vehicle used to area departments.

Not long later, Oakland County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Auburn Hills police tried to stop a truck on University Drive near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

That’s when a short pursuit started.

Dash cam footage investigators released shows the truck darting between lanes, speeding through a red light and colliding with a sheriff’s car. It veered into a lawn on the opposite side, turned back onto the thoroughfare then crossed again to the other direction before heading down a dead-end residential street.

The pickup is seen rolling to a stop at the edge of a grassy yard once boxed in by at least two police cruisers. Then, the suspect appears to run toward nearby trees.

He didn’t get far, though. Deputies nabbed him after finding “a trail of money along his path,” county officials said.

Benns was arraigned Tuesday in Troy’s 52-4 District Court on an armed robbery charge. Bond was denied.

He also was arraigned in Pontiac’s 50th District Court on an armed robbery charge as well as fleeing and eluding deputies in Troy.