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Quick South Lyon Police work leads to bank robber arrest

Posted by: Jennifer Gomori Posted date: December 2, 2015

— By Jennifer Foley, POJ Editor, with excerpts from news media

A Lieutenant, Sergeant and Officer with South Lyon Police Department were awarded certificates of merit for their quick and diligent work, which resulted in the apprehension of the suspect in the Vibe Credit Union armed robbery in August.

Lt. Chris Sovik, Sgt. Doug Baaki, and Officer Audra Baker were recognized for outstanding performance of duty under unusual or difficult conditions. The three were awarded for unusual thoroughness, conscientiousness, determination, and initiative during a South Lyon City Council meeting.

Photo courtesy of South Lyon City Councilman Joe Ryzyi South Lyon Police Lt. Chris Sovik, Sgt. Doug Baaki and Officer Audra Baker were recognized for their efforts in the apprehension of a bank robber.

Photo courtesy of South Lyon City Councilman Joe Ryzyi
South Lyon Police Lt. Chris Sovik, Sgt. Doug Baaki and Officer Audra Baker were recognized for their efforts in the apprehension of a bank robber.

A robbery in South Lyon is definitely an unusual circumstance. “Within the city, this is the third one we’ve had in 24 years,” Sovik said.

The POLC represents South Lyon Command Officers, who were key in identifying and locating the suspect who walked into Vibe Credit Union with a limp and passed a note to the teller which read, “act natural, give me $20K and I have a shotgun in my pants,” police reported. The teller told him the bank didn’t have that much money and handed him the money she did have, a little over $8,000. The suspect took the money, took back the note and left the bank. No one was harmed.

The trio quickly collected and disseminated the information to the public and proper authorities. Officers immediately obtained video surveillance of the 9:04 a.m. Aug. 12 robbery and Lt. Sovik posted the picture and information about the suspect and vehicle used in the robbery on the South Lyon Police Department Facebook page. By 12:40 that afternoon, Sovik received a tip from a source.

“Facebook has been a great tool for us during investigations. Someone recognized him,” Sovik said. “This guy has seen the suspect on occasion in the apartment complex and knew his parents lived there. (The tipster) said, ‘he was driving that teal, two-door Explorer with rear bumper damage you’re talking about.’”

The tipster directed police to an apartment complex where Randolph’s parents live. Police were able to positively identify him as the person in the bank video and found the glasses and hat he wore during the robbery at the parent’s apartment.

“He has an apartment in Wixom and his mother and step dad live in South Lyon and he comes to visit them because he’s not working,” Sovik said.

“We had the information 9 a.m. on Wednesday – by 9 p.m. we had a positive id of the suspect,” Sovik said. “We had the hat and glasses he wore. Audra and Doug were key in questioning the parents and matching a picture (of the suspect) on his stepfather’s (cell) phone. Doug was very instrumental in positively identifying the suspect. Audra, using her business contacts and confidential sources, confirmed the owner of the Explorer and positively identified the suspect.”

Lt. Sovik provided the FBI and Oakland County Violent Crime Task Force with the suspect’s name and possible locations. “We turned it over to the FBI and they had surveillance on him for two days and wanted to make sure it was a good time to take him into custody without anyone getting harmed. He was captured in Detroit two days later by Oakland County Sheriff’s just outside his girlfriend’s mother’s house.”

Brian Randolph, a 23-year-old Wixom man, was arrested and about $3,200 was recovered from the vehicle he was driving. Lt. Sovik obtained a full confession from Randolph, who is charged with one count of bank robbery and one count of armed robbery, both punishable by up to life in prison. He is being held on a $500,000 bond.

“He basically claimed the reason he did it is because his daughter has cancer of the eye,” Sovik said. “They didn’t have insurance. The mother forgot to sign back up with the state after she turned one year old.”

Brailynn Randolph of Wixom goes to chemotherapy every four weeks, as she battles retinoblastoma, a form of eye cancer. “I’m not sure what he was thinking at that point, but at the end of the day the only thing I can think about is him trying to take care of his child,” the girlfriend told 7 Action News of the bank robbery.

“The only thing he kept telling me is I want to be the man I’m supposed to be. I want to provide for my child,” Randolph’s aunt told 7 Action News of the unemployed father.

But police found receipts and expensive items inside the rental car he was borrowing from his aunt when he was arrested. In addition to the $1,500 Randolph told police he spent on rent, he said his girlfriend bought some items from a Gucci store. The Gucci bag found in the vehicle contained a $190 shirt and $160 pair of slippers, both fitting the suspect. A pair of green camouflage Nike LeBron basketball shoes was inside the car without a receipt and Sovik said he also purchased $950 Chanel women’s tennis shoes from Saks Fifth Avenue in Chicago the day after the robbery.

News media told the story of the robber trying to help his daughter who suffers from cancer and funds for the family started pouring in. “Their Go Fund Me page just exploded after this came out,” Sovik said. “This news information came out not knowing we found Gucci and Saks Fifth Avenue in the car.”

The Go Fund Me account, when last checked, was over $47,000 with a goal of $50,000.

Police also found out Randolph’s mother and stepfather bank at the credit union and this wasn’t his first attempted crime there. About five months earlier, Randolph took one of his stepfather’s personal checks and tried to cash it at the credit union. The employee refused to cash the check when he noticed Randolph’s signature did not match his stepfather’s. A bank official called the account holder. “His stepfather said he told the bank not to cash it,” Sovik said.

Randolph’s pre-trial date was scheduled for 1 p.m. Oct. 21, 2015 before Oakland County Circuit Court Judge James Alexander.

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