Thursday, December 24, 2009

Off-duty Ferndale cop stops home break-in suspect

Police said a home-invasion suspect picked the wrong house to enter in Madison Heights because the off-duty officer who lives there leaped from his bed to chase the man down the street and hold him for arrest.
Kip William Kiefer, 31, who lives in Madison Heights just blocks from the site of the break-in, was in Oakland County Jail on a $1-million bond today after being charged with first-degree home invasion, Lt. Robert Anderson said today.
Anderson gave this account of the incident: Around 4:40 a.m. Friday, Dec. 18, Madison Heights police responded to a 911 call from the 28000 block of Alden for a “home invasion in progress.” The 19-year-old woman who called told police she’d been watching television in her lower-level bedroom of the quad-level house when she heard footsteps coming down the stairs and looked up to see a strange man staring at her. She said hello and the man backed away from her.
“The quick-thinking female then used her cell phone to call her father, who was sleeping in an upper-level bedroom and is an off-duty Ferndale police officer,” Anderson said.
The teen’s father jumped out of bed and came downstairs in time to see the suspect leave through the home’s back door, he said. The father, who is the homeowner, rushed out the front door “to cut the suspect off and then he gave chase down the street.”
The homeowner repeatedly identified himself as a police officer, yet the suspect continued running until the homeowner caught up to him, whereupon the suspect threw money he’d stolen from the home at the officer and then continued trying to flee. The homeowner was able to throw him to the ground after a struggle, during which Kiefer received a black eye and other bruises. He then held the suspect until Madison Heights police arrived to take the man into custody. The homeowner and his daughter told police they believe the man entered their home through its back door, which had not been locked, Anderson said.
Kiefer is scheduled for a preliminary exam at 8 a.m. Jan 6 in Madison Heights District Court, following his arraignment Saturday, Dec. 19, in front of Magistrate James Patterson. Anderson said the Madison Heights Police Department expects to issue a public award to the homeowner for his actions, although so far he has not been named.
“He did a tremendous job in apprehending this dangerous criminal” who has a prior police record. … To be able to react like he did after being awakened from deep sleep is just amazing, and it’s a credit to our occupation and his own department,” Anderson said. The off-duty officer, who is in his 40s, “is in phenomenal shape” to have chased down the younger man, he said.
Surprisingly, the officer won’t be getting praise from his own daughter, Anderson said.
“His daughter is livid that he didn’t lock that back door. So, Daddy’s taking some heat on this one,” he said with a chuckle.
As part of their report on the incident, Madison Heights police issued a warning that people should keep all entry doors and garage doors locked, even when they are home and awake, and especially after dark.
Contact BILL LAITNER: 586-826-7264 or