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Hazel Park

March 22, 2013

Armed robbery suspect flees courtroom, gets caught again

Suspect tried to enter occupied vehicles while on the run

By Andy Kozlowski
C & G Staff Writer

HAZEL PARK — An armed robbery suspect broke free of his police escort while being transferred to Hazel Park 43rd District Court — part of the same building as the Hazel Park Police Department — and managed to flee across the street before police tracked him down and captured him again.

The suspect is 33-year-old Jacob Kuzma, of Dearborn Heights. Heading into his original arraignment March 15, he was to be charged with robbery armed, punishable by any number of years, up to and including life in prison.

After this most recent incident, however, Kuzma was hit with the additional charges of resisting and obstructing police, worth up to two years in prison, and escaping lawful custody, worth up to a year in jail.

Magistrate James Paterson arraigned him by video March 19, setting his bond at its original amount of $1 million.

The original incident occurred around 8:20 a.m. March 14, when Kuzma allegedly entered the Kroger store at 23101 John R, slipping a note to the clerk indicating he had a gun and he wanted all of the money in the register.

After receiving an undisclosed amount of money, Kuzma allegedly fled on foot into the parking lot. There, he entered a vehicle that was described by witnesses as an older maroon Chevy sedan.

Officers began searching the area and, a short time later, located a stolen 1993 Chevrolet Lumina, burgundy in color, in the area of Keating and Remington in Detroit.

Upon approaching the vehicle, the officer noticed a subject matching the suspect description a short distance away, walking away from the vehicle. When the individual saw the officer, he allegedly ran away on foot.

Police say Kuzma was found hiding inside of a detached garage the next block over. The door had been secured by a loose-fitting chain, giving the suspect room enough to pull it open and slide in, police say.

There was no further resistance at that point.

Police say that when they were escorting Kuzma from his cell in the HPPD to the courtroom upstairs for his arraignment the next day, Kuzma made a run for it, forcing his way out of the doors and into the parking lot.

During his attempted escape, police say Kuzma tried to gain entry to several occupied vehicles at a red light on Nine Mile and John R, and when that didn’t work, he continued to run on foot until he was captured a short distance from the intersection near I-75. 

At press time, Kuzma was being lodged in Oakland County Jail and had not yet been assigned an attorney.

“Anytime you have a suspect or individuals who are facing capital offenses, extra precautions need to be taken because they’re so unpredictable,” said Hazel Park Police Chief Martin Barner. “This has forced us to review our internal policies and procedures when transferring prisoners from their cell to the court, in order to prevent this from happening again.”