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Stolen vehicle crime spree leads to arrests

Three men suspected of stealing more than two dozen vehicles and seven handguns over the past few months have been charged with multiple crimes following an extensive investigation, Bloomfield Township police said.

Bloomfield Township police said Raphael Smith, 29; Demerius Hollis, 30; and Samuel Bender Jr., 32; were each charged with motor vehicle theft, larceny of personal property from a vehicle; burglary; illegal use of a credit card; and larceny of a firearm.

“After months of investigative work, detectives learned that these individuals are responsible for hundreds of property thefts, and over 25 stolen vehicles from all over the metro Detroit area,” said Bloomfield Township Police Public Information Officer Nick Soley.

Soley said the crimes occurred between October 2022 and January 2023.

“During the investigation, detectives were able to identify Bender as a suspect responsible for a stolen credit card,” he said. “Surveillance camera reviews also helped identify Smith and Hollis as occupants of several stolen vehicles. Detectives conducted surveillance and confirmed that all three subjects were involved in this ongoing crime spree.”

Investigators with the Troy Special Investigations Unit helped lead the investigation. The unit includes officers from the Auburn Hills, Birmingham, Bloomfield Township, Royal Oak and Troy police departments. The Canton, Livonia, Sterling Heights and Michigan State Police departments assisted in the case.

Investigators executed multiple search warrants at residences in late December in Detroit where Smith and Hollis were taken into custody. Bender was arrested by Bloomfield Township police in January. Officers recovered a large amount of stolen property, including seven stolen handguns.

Smith and Hollis were charged in Oakland County Circuit Court and held on bond over $1 million. Bender was charged in 48th District Court and held on $300,000 bond. All three suspects also were charged with conducting a criminal enterprise by the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office.

“Although these suspects were taken into custody, metro Detroit agencies are still seeing an influx of auto thefts and larcenies from autos,” Soley said. “The Bloomfield Township Police Department is reminding residents to lock you car, remove all valuables – including the key fob – and never leave a firearm in your vehicle.”


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