By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK – City officials hope that a bench warrant issued last week will lead to a day in court for a Melvindale man accused of falsely claiming rental authority over a city-owned building, and taking advantage of a young woman who’d rented an apartment.
According to Lincoln Park Police, 35-year-old Andrew Robert Myrick had been cited for larceny by conversion and breaking and entering. Investigators and prosecutors said that Myrick had fraudulently collected rental fees for a two-bedroom house in the 1500 block of Pagel Avenue from a 24-year-old woman, who had lived there with her 7-year-old daughter since June.
A police spokeswoman said that Myrick had failed to appear as ordered in 25th District Court on Sept. 3, and a bench warrant was issued.
Lincoln Park Emergency Manager Brad Coulter said that the building had been vacant for some time, and was initially claimed at auction by the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office.
“They offered it to us at no cost,” Coulter said of the acquisition through a quit claim deed, and city officials had planned to refurbish the home using grant funds.
Instead of an empty structure, building officials in August had found the unknown residents. The woman told police and inspectors that she’d been paying rent since June, and reportedly had given at least $800 to Myrick since then. The woman had reportedly been told that the house was going through foreclosure, but that she could rent it on a monthly basis until that process was complete.
“We don’t like seeing people taken advantage of,” Coulter said. The woman said that she had paid the man cash, at his request, and could not document exactly how much she had paid.
The woman was given time and assistance to relocate.
Coulter said that city-owned rental properties are leased out through the building department, and prospective tenants should contact that office with any questions at 313-386-1800.
(James Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)