Police chief, officers recognized

HEIGHTS – Police Chief Lee Gavin and fellow officers were recognized July 27 by Mayor Daniel Paletko and members of the City Council for their part in foiling an attempted bank heist on Nov. 27.

Gavin, a 28-year veteran of the department, was off duty when he saw a man who was acting suspiciously and carrying what appeared to be a purse as he exited TCF Bank, 25488 Michigan Ave., across the street from the Police Department.

“As soon as the subject exited the building, he immediately started running toward the subdivision directly behind the bank,” Gavin said. “It just didn’t look right.”

With Gavin still in pursuit of the suspect, he contacted the department’s dispatch for additional assistance. As other officers joined in the pursuit, they were notified by the dispatcher that the bank had just been robbed by a man armed with a handgun.

The suspect entered a vehicle that was waiting for him, and sped off, with Gavin still in pursuit. Shortly afterward, Sgt. Al Nason, Cpl. Michael Kolezar, Cpl. Timothy Ciochon, and Reserve Sgt. Ben Antinossi converged on the vehicle and apprehended the suspects.

The money, as well as the weapon were recovered from the suspects, who it later was determined also were responsible for an earlier robbery of another TCF Bank in Farmington Hills.

Gavin credits “being at the right place at the right time” to observe the crime as it unfolded, along with some “good police work” to pursue and apprehend the suspects.