Livonia police arrested accused cat burgler they say was caught in the act

Posted: 8:46 PM, Aug 04, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-04 20:46:53-04

When a man came into a family’s house on Weyher Street as they slept and stole their things, Livonia Police had a suspect.

The problem? Proving it.
Livonia Police put surveillance teams on 53-year-old Derek Cathey of Detroit.  He had a long criminal history, and they feared if someone woke up and saw him there would be violence.

“We were very concerned about getting this individual off the streets,” said Capt. Robert Nenciarini of the Livonia Police Department.

They followed him as he cased neighborhoods in Madison Heights, Royal Oak, Warren, and Dearborn Heights.  Finally police say they caught him in the act in Dearborn.

“Watching a cat burglar is a once or twice in your whole career event,  where you can get somebody doing something like that.  So our guys were ecstatic about getting this guy off the road,” said Nenciarini.

One family that says he broke into their home says they are grateful for the intensive investigation. 

Police say the public can learn from this alleged cat burglar. As they followed him they noticed he was looking for something very specific. He was looking for homes with a unlocked screened storm door letting in the breeze as people tried to cool off at night.

“They had their front door unlocked and open and just their screen door shut. So he just looks for open doors, walks right in and helps  himself,” said Nenciarini.

Nenciarini says if people want to have windows or doors open at night they should consider putting a board or bar in place to make sure windows and sliding doors don’t open enough for someone to walk in.

Cathey is facing home invasion and habitual offender charges. His bond was sent at $250,000. He has an extensive criminal history dating back to 1979.