March 18 12:22 PM

Suspects on the short list

Thieves tied to area break-ins picked up by Macomb County Sheriff's Dept.

February 04, 2009
TRI-CITY AREA — When a pair of thieves decided to break into Jennifer Brooks 37 Mile Road home a few weeks ago, they got more than a pillowcase full of loot. They got the full attention of a former military policewoman and firearms instructor—a graduate of the Macomb Police Academy who wasn't about to let the matter go.

Brooks returned home on January 9 to find that someone had been inside the place—though at first it wasn't extremely obvious.

"I noticed that a basement light was on and that was unusual," she says.

With a little more checking, she discovered that someone had pried open a sliding glass door and rifled through bedrooms looking for goods.

"It's almost as if they were being 'polite,'" Brooks says. "They didn't trash the place. Drawers were almost completely closed. They took a pillowcase from my daughter's bed to carry the stuff in."

Regardless of their tendency toward neatness, Brooks was incensed that someone had helped themselves to electronics, cash, jewelry and prescription drugs. She was even more dismayed at the impact the B & E had on her children, and the lingering feeling of insecurity an incident like that brings.

A call to the Macomb County Sheriff's Department—Brooks lives in Bruce Township but is in the Almont School District—resulted in report taking, and the promise of an investigation by detectives.

"I didn't want to wait for detectives to interview neighbors whenever they got around to it," Brooks says. "I thought it would be best to talk to them while it was still fresh in their minds."

So she did. A check with a nearby farmer netted a couple of vehicle descriptions, which Brooks passed on to area police. She spread the word to friends and neighbors, hoping to prevent someone else from going through the same thing.

Brooks also frequently checked with the sheriff's department detectives, who had told her the B & E appeared to be linked to a number of others in the area.

So it was with great relief that she learned on Thursday that two suspects were in custody for her's and a series of other B & Es in St. Clair, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb and Oakland counties.

The suspects, Gary Morley, 28, of Warren and John Roese, 21, of Mt. Clemens, began their spree in November, police say. They did so in an apparent effort to feed their addictions to prescription painkillers, says Det. Sgt. Patrick Young of the Michigan State Police-Richmond post.

"It was a problem with oxycontin," Young says. "One of them actually apologized for it but said he was simply trying to supply the drug habit."

Young says the suspects identified homes in Berlin Twp. and other areas when shown photographs, and police are hoping to wrap up a number of open investigations.

"With some they're a little unsure, but it appears that they're trying to be as cooperative as possible," Young says. "But they both told me they've done so many they can hardly remember."

Though the suspects' memories may be fuzzy, Brooks says she won't soon forget that they invaded her family's space.

"It's a relief to know that they've been caught, but it's a little upsetting to hear people say it's a sign of the times," she says. "No. These were drug addicts and that's the part that you can't blame on the economy."

She's currently working on her victim's impact statement, and says she'll seek restitution.

Brooks says she's grateful that they've been caught, and credits watchful neighbors for their concern about the incidents.

"I'm very grateful for the neighbors that pay attention and for the farmers who are just the best watchdogs you can have in the community," she says.

Along with keeping a watchful eye out, Brooks says she's already changed a few things at her home.

"If somebody comes to the door that I don't know, I'm getting their license plate," she says. "They're getting their picture taken and their plate written down."

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