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Beline Obeid

Five charges for Detroit suspect


July 10, 2014
GROSSE POINTE FARMS — A heroin-user, with a habit of taking other people's property, admits cruising the community breaking into parked cars.

"He has issues," said Lt. Detective Richard Rosati.

Suspect Justin Joseph Verstraete, 30, of the 6000 block of Farmbrook, Detroit, was arraigned late Tuesday, July 1, by Judge Matthew Rumora in Farms Municipal Court on five charges:

possession of a stolen motor vehicle, a felony punishable by up to five years incarceration,

larceny from auto, a five-year felony and

three misdemeanor counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle.

A charge of driving under the influence of drugs could result from findings of a blood test.

Verstraete is at the Wayne County Jail until posting Rumora's $25,000 cash bond.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled in Farms court Wednesday, July 9, after this week's Grosse Pointe News deadline.

"Verstraete has a criminal record of home invasion, auto theft, receiving and concealing stolen property, retail fraud" and more, said arresting officer Sgt. Holly Krizmanich.

He's also is wanted in:

St. Clair Shores on a $459 warrant for violating a suspended driver's license and

Roseville on a $316 warrant for failing to appear in court on an unspecified charge.

Farms officers caught Verstraete around midnight Tuesday, June 24, in the 400 block of Chalfonte.

He possessed a Honda Odyssey stolen two days earlier, Sunday, June 22, from a woman living in the 1900 block of Severn, Grosse Pointe Woods, police said.

The Odyssey contained property stolen recently from cars parked in the 400 block of Maison in the Farms, on Mack and in the City of Grosse Pointe, they added.

"He confessed to everything and had all the stuff on him," Rosati said. "He confessed that the car was stolen, that he had addictive drugs and he was driving under the influence of heroin."

Officers booked Verstraete at headquarters.

"While processing Verstraete, (I) observed (his) speech was slurred, he had bloodshot eyes, was unsteady on his feet, swaying, and his reactions were slow," said Officer Richard Rosati, Lt. Rosati's son. "He stated he used heroin earlier in the day."

Officers took Verstraete to Henry Ford Cottage Hospital for two vials of his blood to be drawn for testing for narcotics at a crime lab.

The arrest

At 11:47 p.m. Tuesday, June 24, officers responded to a man living in the 400 block of Maison alleging someone attempting to break into parked cars.

"His car alarm had gone off," Krizmanich said. "When he looked out, he saw an unknown subject leave the area southbound (on) Maison."

Patrolman Michael Hodor found two, unattended cars parked on the block with dome lights on.

"(I) advised units in the area that the subject may be headed southbound toward Chalfonte," Hodor said

At 11:59 p.m., Krizmanich, in her cruiser heading south on Bournemouth at Chalfonte, saw a man drive a green Honda Odyssey in front of her, left to right, on eastbound Chalfonte.

"Seeing the scout car, the (driver) looked nervous (and) quickly turned his head away," Krizmanich said.

He parked in the 400 block of Chalfonte and, leaving the Odyssey's engine running, got out.

"He started to walk away briskly southbound toward the sidewalk," Krizmanich said. "He still appeared nervous and was sweating."

"Stop," she ordered.

Verstraete claimed he "was driving around" after dropping off a girl, but couldn't say where, Krizmanich said.

The Odyssey was "his friend's mother's car," Krizmanich said he told her. "He stated he did not have permission to be driving it."

Krizmanich noticed Verstraete's two black eyes.

"He stated he got beat up by a friend a few days ago," she said.

Officers searching Verstraete's pockets reportedly found 14 Cyclodenzaprine prescription muscle relaxers.

The prescription was in the name of a City of Grosse Pointe woman. She lives near where a car was reported broken into on Lincoln June 23.

A search of the Odyssey revealed Garmin and Magellan global satellite positioning systems.

Hodor confirmed the Magellan came from a woman's car parked on Maison.

"She stated (it) was in the glove box of the vehicle prior to parking," Hodor said.

Her car was among those Hodor noted having dome lights on.

Officers reportedly also recovered at the scene:

a three-inch folding knife,

coins totaling $19.55 in an unmarked prescription bottle,

seven cellular telephones branded Samsung, BlackBerry, Metro PCS, Motorola and Verizon and

a multi-colored backpack containing a tan, $150 Gill foul-weather sailing jacket, gloves, cigars and Sirus radio template.

Police believe Verstraete stole the bag and jacket between 2 and 4 p.m. June 24, from an unlocked car belonging to a Grosse Pointe Park woman parked behind a business in the 18500 block of Mack.

Verstraete also is suspected of stealing an Ibanez acoustic guitar with a Bob Marley sticker from a 2008 Chevrolet HHR parked the evening of his arrest in the driveway of a house in the 400 block of Maison.

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