A Farmington Hills restaurateur dished up a little more than a Northville man could handle last week, stopping a theft at Bake Station Too on Orchard Lake north of 13 Mile.
Travis Andrew George, 33, was arraigned April 26 on a charge of larceny in connection with a crime interrupted by Sunrise Cafe co-owner Emmanuel Parashos. In addition to running the business with his brother-in-law Elias Ropotos, the 41-year-old Dearborn resident is a Wayne County Sheriff's Dept. reserve deputy and former teacher at Farmington Martial Arts.
Parashos said he was locking up his shop at around 5:45 p.m. April 25, when he spotted a man looking into the window of the bakery next door.
"I kind of got a bad vibe off it," Parashos said. "I had seen him a couple of times that week."
With his hands full, Parashos opened the door to the bakery, which is owned by his good friend Steve Katz. He saw the man who had been looking in the window grab cash out of the hand of a bakery clerk, who yelled for help.
The man ran right toward Parashos, who said he "kind of just reacted ... If I didn't have my hands full, he wouldn't have made it out of the restaurant."
Instead, with only one arm free, Parashos said, "I stiff-armed him."
The men struggled, moving back out the door, and Parashos' belongings went flying. The two continued to wrestle, with Parashos taking the man down to the cement for the last time as police and an ambulance arrived.
Farmington Hills Police Commander Matt Koehn said George was taken to Botsford Hospital for treatment of minor injuries and released the same day.
Kayla Katz, whose father owns Bake Station Too, said the man came into the store asking the clerk on duty – her sister, Brianna – if she had change for a $50. When Brianna produced the change, the man grabbed it out of her hand and ran for the door. Kayla said the incident, which was captured on store security cameras, scared Brianna "half to death".
"We're just more cautious now," she said.
Koehn said George told police that "he planned to use the money to get prescription medication and get a room for the night." Koehn said when officers searched George, they found a syringe.
Parashos had special training, but Koehn said in most cases, "it's better to be a good witness" and give police the information they need to apprehend someone who has committed a crime.
However, he added, "You can't argue with the results in this case."
Correction: The businesses named in this story are located north of 13 Mile Road in Farmington Hills.