(WXYZ) — A 28-year-old suspect is in custody after a police chase that spanned five cities stemming from stolen marijuana plants in Wyandotte.
Police say suspects were stealing marijuana plants out of someone's garage when an officer observed their suspicious van in an alleyway.
Wyandotte has a local ordinance against the use of an alley due to heightened criminal activity.
The officer observed one suspect standing next to the van and ordered them down at gunpoint. The suspect initially started to comply, but there was a second suspect inside of a nearby garage. When the second suspect appeared, police say the first suspect ran away while the second suspect ran to the vehicle.
The suspect accelerates in reverse to get away; while the officer is waiting for backup, he begins chasing the suspect and attempts to open the door. The suspect then accelerates forward, strikes the officer, continues out of the alley, and strikes the police unit.
The officer retrieved his vehicle and began pursuing the suspect with other Wyandotte police officers joining in. They pursued the suspect through Wyandotte, Ecorse, River Rouge, Detroit, and Dearborn.
This is the 20th pursuit of criminal suspects by Wyandotte Police since May 1, according to Wyandotte's Deputy Police Chief Archie Hamilton.
"I hope the lawmakers are listening to this because the law needs to change," Hamilton told 7 Action News. "There needs to be an enhanced charge where we're holding these people accountable and they're not getting a slap on the wrist when they flee from the police. Instead, they're going to prison."
Hamilton points to the weight of a conviction for Felony Firearm which carries a mandatory punishment of two years in prison.
Hamilton adds that criminal suspects are taking advantage of police agencies calling off pursuits for fear of crashes and lawsuits.
"So, it makes them reluctant to even engage in a pursuit anymore. And the criminals know this," he said. "So, in response, they're committing crimes, they figure, 'If I run, they'll stop pursuing me, I'll get away,' and that needs to stop because we're seeing lawlessness."
During Monday's early morning pursuit, police say the suspect crashed into an unoccupied vehicle and became inoperable. When officers approached the vehicle to open the door, the suspect accelerated again, nearly dragging the officer.
As the pursuit continued, police say the suspect crashed through construction signs and lost one of his tires. In Dearborn, the suspect jumped the median, crashed through a tree, and rolled into a parking lot, where his vehicle was seemingly inoperable again.
Police say when officers attempted to arrest him again, he put the vehicle into reverse and crashed into one of the police units.
At that point, officers were able to take the suspect out of the van and place him under arrest. Officers looked inside his vehicle and found it completely filled with marijuana plants they believe were stolen from someone's garage.
Thankfully, police say no officers were injured during the incident.
The 28-year-old suspect is expected to be arraigned Wednesday. Police are continuing to investigate and expect to have the second suspect under arrest soon.