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Prosecutor: Romulus Cops Bought Marijuana, Hookers

ROMULUS (WWJ) - The former Romulus Police Chief, his wife and five detectives are being charged in a wide-ranging police corruption probe.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said ex-Chief Michael St. Andre and the five officers are facing dozens of counts.  She shared some of the details with the media on Tuesday.

"Creation of false documents to support improper expenditures or forfeiture funds, misuse of City of Romulus funds for personal gain, solicitation of prostitutes for personal gratification, and the buying of marijuana and alcohol to the tune of over $40,000 in a one-year period," said Worthy.

The officers charged in the case are Det. Sgt. Richard Balzer, Det. Donald Hopkins, Det. Richard Landry, Det. Jeremy Channells and Det. Larry Droege.

The former police chief's wife, Sandra Vlaz-St. Andre, is also facing felony charges in the case. She is accused of receiving stolen money from the city forfeiture fund which she allegedly deposited into a personal checking account and used to buy a tanning salon.

All seven defendants were arraigned Tuesday in before Judge Brian A. Oakley in 34th District Court.  Each was asked to turn over their weapons and passports and released on personal bond.

Worthy said officials were tipped off by someone in the police department.  She said the investigation is ongoing.

Meantime, some Romulus residents, including James Flatt, have not been shy about voicing their disgust concerning the allegations.

"I feel sorry for their families and I feel sorry for them. That police chief told them to do a job and they overextended the jobs. I mean, how would you like to live in a community where you don't know what the police are doing?" Flatt said.

"You figure the cops are supposed to be there to protect the people instead of messing with them. A small town as it is, it don't need that kind of publicity," said a resident.

"Needless to say, something like this really shakes the town up. But we'll just pick up the pieces and move on," said another man.

A preliminary examination in the case is set for October 5.

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