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Suspect Arrested In Dearborn Garage Break-Ins After Police Track Footprints In Snow

DEARBORN (WWJ) - Police in Dearborn say officers were able to apprehend a man suspected of breaking into garages by tracking his footprints in the snow.

The situation unfolded in the early morning hours of February 11, when police responded to a possible home invasion in the 24000 block of Boston, located in a neighborhood along Telegraph Road just south of Michigan Avenue.

The homeowner said a man had been found inside the garage and he was scared off by the family dog. Officers obtained the suspect's description and canvassed the neighborhood in an attempt to locate him.

A short time later, a man matching the suspect's description -- identified as 43-year-old Paul Ziolkowski -- was located on the corner of Carlysle and Westwood and detained by officers.

Ziolkowski 2
Paul Ziolkowski at the time of his arrest. (police handout)

Police say "a thorough and lengthy investigation was completed" and officers were able to track Ziolkowski's footprints in the snow back to the Boston address.

Officers were also able to follow the footprints to several other garages in the neighborhood and discovered a snow blower had been stolen from one residence.

Officers followed tracks from the snow blower's wheels along with the footprints and ended up at a party store where Ziolkowski had first been detained. The snow blower had been hidden on the side of the business, according to police.

Ziolkowski was arrested and on Feb. 12, he was charged with breaking and entering – a building with intent, breaking and entering – illegal entry and habitual offender – third offense. Bond was set at $5,000 ahead of a probable cause conference on Feb. 26.

"Our citizens are the eyes and ears of the community. By remaining observant, the resident was able to give a detailed description of the suspect which led to his apprehension," Police Chief Ronald Haddad said in a statement. "Our patrol officers did an excellent investigation which resulted in an arrest that may close several garage break-in cases in Dearborn's West End."

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