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January 31, 2013
GROSSE POINTE SHORES — On a nearly 0-degree night last week, Raleigh the police dog warmed his nose to an alleged thief hiding in a side-yard storage bin in the 800 block of Lakeshore.

“He flipped the lid off with his nose and chomped down on the guy’s pant leg,” said Sgt. Michael Almeranti, of the City of Grosse Pointe Public Safety Department.


Officers from the Farms also assisted Shores patrolmen during the one-hour search ending at 4:50 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, with the arrest of John Matthew Nowack, 21, of Sterling Heights.

Nowack is suspected of stealing a 2000 Dodge Ram pickup that afternoon at a business in Sterling Heights and abandoning it in the Shores.

He was arraigned Thursday, Jan. 24, in Farms Municipal Court on additional charges stemming from his actions in the Shores.

Charges include:

home invasion first degree,

receiving and concealing a stolen motor vehicle,

home invasion third degree and

assaulting police and resisting arrest.

Home invasion charges result from the suspect entering an attached garage, not a house, according to Shores Chief John Schulte.

Farms Judge Matthew Rumora set Nowack’s bond at $100,000 and scheduled a preliminary hearing at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6.

More details about the incident follow:

At 3:57 a.m. the night of the arrest, Detroit and Warren police warned Shores officers to be on the lookout for someone driving toward the city in a stolen green pickup.

“The vehicle was discovered abandoned in the middle of Roslyn,” near Lakeshore, according to Shores officer Tony Spina.

The vehicle had heavy right-side damage, including a missing front wheel.

Farms and City officers converged on the area to help search for the driver.

He’s suspected of removing a bicycle from the bed of the pickup and riding to Lakeshore.

Officers followed bicycle tracks northward in the southbound lanes of Lakeshore to the grass at 875 Lakeshore.

“The track was lost,” Spina said.

“Raleigh wasn’t really clicking on anything,” Almeranti said. “It was only 3 degrees; so cold there weren’t footprints in the snow. When it starts getting that cold, human odor actually freezes. There’s not much for the dog to pick up on.”

Spina found the bike abandoned in front of 40 South Edgewood.

Raleigh picked up the scent.

“The K-9 indicated strongly and took us to the rear of the yard, where a backpack and multiple items were found,” Spina said.

Contents of the backpack included tools and a car radio police believe was stolen.

Farms Sgt. Holly Krizmanich reported seeing the dome lights go on and off in two cars parked in the driveway of a house in the 800 block of Lakeshore. She also spotted someone enter the house’s attached garage and the door close.

Officers awoke the residents and entered the garage.

“They thought he was in the garage attic because the attic ladder was down,” Almeranti said.

Raleigh, however, tugged toward the south side of the house.

“The K-9 started giving loud verbal commands,” said a Shores patrolman.

“As we went around the back of the house toward the garage, he did a head snap on the tool shed,” Almeranti said. “Before I could say anything, he flipped the lid off and grabbed the guy.”

Officers took Nowack into custody.

Shores Detective Lt. Scott Rohr questioned him in a holding cell.

“(His) responses to questioning were extremely fragmented and failed to display any continuity,” according to Rohr.


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