On Dec. 30 Ann Arbor police arrested 62-year-old Michael Brooks in connections with five home invasions after identical footprints were discovered at the two of the crime scenes. Brooks’ victims include David Goldwyn and his wife on the 1300 block of Minerva Road, a group of four University of Michigan students living on Linden Street, two homes on Geddes Ave and one on High Street. However, police expect there may be more victims as students return to Ann Arbor from winter break.
According to WXYZ Detroit, home invasion victim Goldwyn and his wife heard a noise in their home followed by the sounding of their home security alarm. The couple discovered a man in their living room who immediately fled from the window he initially gained entry, according to an AAPD media release.
Detective Lt. Matthew Lige of the Ann Arbor Police Department received a call three hours later reporting a suspicious person looking into windows of a home on the 1500 block of Geddes Ave. Police officers arrived and discovered Brooks had re-entered the home and was hiding in a bathtub.
Police linked Brooks to five home invasions spanning the dates of Dec. 27 to Dec. 30. Homeowners were in home on two occasion, the remaining three homes were unoccupied at the time of the invasion.
On Dec. 29 Brooks invaded the bottom half of duplexed home on Linden Street, home to four University students. The students, away on winter break, learned of the invasion when police recovered one of the housemate’s laptop in Brook’s vehicle.
“The day we found out about the break-in my housemate and I went to Ann Arbor to check what the police had found,” home invasion victim and Kinesiology sophomore Max Miley said. “The robber had cut the screen off one of our windows and made his way in through there.”
The housemates assume the window remained unlocked as no other items in the home were damaged.
“He took some small electronics but left more expensive ones which was strange,” Miley said. “He also took my housemates gluten free pretzels and oatmeal — super odd looting.”
Det. Lt. Lige sent the same group of officers to both invasions where they discovered similar distinctive shoe wear in the snow. The footprints matched and investigators located Brooks in a vacant apartment.
In an email interview, Lige wrote this incident shows how taking other crimes in Ann Arbor into account leads to successful field work.
“This case illustrates good field investigation by patrol officers and detectives who linked the alleged suspect to additional crimes in the AA area,” Lige wrote.
Brooks had been on parole for similar crimes. Brooks has been charged with two counts of home invasion in the first degree and three counts of home invasion in the third degree. He was arraigned on Jan 1 on five felony charges and is currently held on $100,000 bond.
“I think it is just crazy that (police) were able to take such a small piece of evidence and track down this guy,” victim David Goldwyn told WXYZ Detroit. “Odds were slim but there was fresh snow on the ground. They figured if they were going to find him footprints were going to be the way.”
This article has been updated with a statement from Ann Arbor Police Department’s Detective Lt. Matthew Lige and details from an AAPD media release.