Detroit, Southfield police nab mail thief accused of robbing UPS driver
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – A suspected package thief who held up at least two delivery drivers is off the streets.
William Lewis is facing charges for several larcenies and mail theft. His arrest resulted from a joint investigation between the Detroit and Southfield police departments.
Over several months, Detroit police say Lewis allegedly stole packages from porches. Eventually, he went straight to the source.
Surveillance cameras captured the suspect trailing a UPS driver in early February before committing the crime.
"In one incident, he actually grabbed the driver after he took the package; he actually robbed the driver of personal items that the driver had on him. So as you can see, this was going to gradually get more and more violent. Someone could have been injured. We may, in fact, have prevented, you know, a murder, you never know. I mean, he wasn't going to stop," Chief James White of the Detroit Police Department said.
Authorities believe Lewis is responsible for or contributed to at least eight robberies and larcenies across Detroit.
He carried either a knife or a taser during the crimes, according to police.
A break in the case came earlier this month when alert neighbors in Southfield reported a theft in progress.
"It expands beyond the packages. Certainly, the individual goes up on the porches, steals packages, really victimizing people's hard work that they do to afford these items," said Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren.
Security cameras again picked up the suspect's car, which had some distinguishing features.
Southfield investigators sent the information to Detroit's Crime Intelligence Unit. Soon they had their suspect, William Lewis.
"People need to take note, we're going to work together to get these violent offenders off the street. We're not going to allow our communities to be victimized, whether it be packages stolen off the front porch, whether it be someone robbed, driving a UPS vehicle, just simply trying to go to work and do their job. We are not going to tolerate it. We're going to work together," White said.
Southfield Police released dashcam video of officers moving in to arrest Lewis at a gas station on Nine Mile and Southfield roads.
They say he was pretty surprised.
While searching the vehicle, authorities discovered several pieces of evidence from Lewis' alleged crimes.
"His violence was escalating. And we didn't want it to get to a level where he could potentially hurt somebody. That's something that we try to avoid," said Southfield police officer Raymond Chandler.
Lewis was out on bond for a short time but is back in custody on another warrant.
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