Police: Wayne County Morgue employee broke into homes of the deceased
HURON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (FOX 2) - Police say an employee working for the Wayne County Morgue used his position to stake out potential victims and even had a cover story in the event he got caught.
On February 15th, Huron Township police respond to a break-in, in progress.
"I saw them shoulder shrug the door open, and I called the cops," said neighbor Megan Michaels.
Officers arrested two suspects, Carnell Franklin-Smith and Benjamin Pearce, both from Detroit.
"We were able to see what we perceived as stolen property in plain view in the vehicle." said Chief Everette Robbins.
Robbins, the director of public safety for Huron Township said officers knew it was stolen, because it looked very familiar.
"We recognized that it was house we were at, the day before, for a death investigation," said Robbins.
The day prior, Valentine's Day, police were there, a home at the Huron Estates Mobile Home Park for a death due to natural causes.
That wasn't the only thing that seemed familiar, it turns out Franklin-Smith tells police he was also at this house on Valentine's Day.
"He works for a company that subcontracts with the Wayne County Morgue. That company he is subcontracted to comes in and respectfully removes someone who is deceased, and transports them to the Wayne County Morgue."
Knowing that no one was home, police say he and his accomplice used that to their advantage.
"What more a crime of opportunity, to be able to have access to a home, know the resident is deceased," said Chief Robbins, "interview and talk to the family and ultimately be able to scope out inside the residence, to see what you want to come and take the next day."
"I was wondering how they had heard about it because the cops had told me they didn’t live around here," said Michaels.
When confronted the two suspects allegedly told police a different story, they owned a business called "No Evidence" and they were there to clean up the house. Police say that simply wasnt true.
"They had no cleaning supplies, there was nothing to indicate he was there to do anything besides break in and steal," Robbins said.
"I watched them take things out of his house and put in their car," Michaels said.
They were arrested for home invasion and weapon charges and appeared before Judge Brian Oakley and then released on a personal bond. But there is concern other victims are out there.
"I would believe this wasn’t his first time especially with him coming up with a company that he used to mask what he was doing," Robbins said. "So I have to believe there were other victims."