H.E.A.T. Honors Those Committed To the Fight Against Auto Crime in Michigan

Law Enforcement, Auto Insurers and Community Leaders Celebrate Achievements at 29th Anniversary Breakfast

Help Eliminate Auto Thefts (H.E.A.T.) – which operates Michigan’s statewide auto theft tip line – recently celebrated its 29th anniversary with an awards ceremony at the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights.

Honored with Investigator of the Year awards were the Detroit Police Department – Conspiracy and Metro Squads; Grosse Pointe Park’sArresting Car Thieves In Our Neighborhood (ACTION) task force; Macomb Auto Theft Squad (MATS); and the Grand Rapids Combined Auto Theft Unit. (See below for list of team members.)

Speaking to nearly 200 police, prosecutors, government officials and insurance industry representatives, keynote speaker Detroit Police Chief James Craig credited the Detroit anti-auto theft teams with helping to cut auto theft in the city by 19 percent year-to-date and carjackings by 30 percent.

Craig also congratulated H.E.A.T. for its role in Michigan’s declining auto theft rate. Since 1986, Michigan auto thefts have decreased from 72,021 to 24,973 in 2012 – a 65.3 percent decline – despite growth in both population and number of registered vehicles, according to the 2013 Michigan Automobile Theft Prevention Authority Annual Report.

In August 2013, the Detroit Police Department – in partnership with the Michigan State Police and H.E.A.T. – enacted the “Heatwave Initiative” with the goal of cutting the number of carjackings in Detroit. The task force identified and deployed officers to areas known to be carjacking hotspots. Members of DPD and neighborhood group volunteers provided residents and community leaders with safety awareness tips and information on the H.E.A.T. program.

Since H.E.A.T. was founded in 1985, the organization has recorded more than 10,000 tips. Michigan residents have assisted in the arrests of more than 3,700 suspects of auto theft-related crimes, and have helped H.E.A.T. recover more than 4,700 vehicles amounting to $57.8 million in stolen property.

H.E.A.T. Executive Director Terri Miller said, “This is about celebrating our partners in law enforcement and the insurance industry, who work tirelessly to help Michigan drive toward a future without auto theft-related crime. We’re extremely appreciative of our partners’ commitments to help fight these crimes, making the H.E.A.T. program a success.”

One such partner – Peggy Bezy, a special investigator with USAA Insurance – was named H.E.A.T.’s William V. Liddane Award winner for 2014. Given annually, the Liddane Award is presented to an individual who exemplifies and demonstrates a strong commitment and effort to reducing auto theft-related crimes in Michigan, as Liddane did throughout his career. Liddane was instrumental in starting H.E.A.T, which pursues alliances between law enforcement, business leaders and the community to fight rising insurance costs and auto theft-related crimes in Michigan.

The H.E.A.T. Investigator of the Year Award honors law enforcement and others for their tenacity and hard work in auto theft investigation, arrest, recovery and prevention. This year’s award recipients included:

  • Detroit Police Department – Conspiracy Squad
    • Sgt. Jonathan Parnell
    • Sgt. Patrick Saunders
    • Sgt. Otha Craighead
    • Det. John Berryman
    • Dep. Frank Lenz
    • Det. Clive Stewart
    • Det. Kenneth Leonard
    • Det. Alfredo Jimenez
    • Det. Jon Metiva
    • Det. Derek Owens
    • PO Rico Hardy
    • PO Nelson Robinson
    • PO Steven Turner
  • Detroit Police Department- Metro Squad
    • Sgt. Robert Wellman
    • Det. Lewis Jackson
    • Det. Shawn Schmelter
    • Det. Dana Russell
    • PO Mark Burke
    • PO Rohit Joshi
    • PO Christopher Staton
    • Sgt. James Vogler
    • NICB Agent Larry LaFond
    • Sgt. Ron Dupuis
    • Det. Aristides Reyes
    • Officer Jessica Worrall
    • Robin Fisette
  • MATS
    • Sgt. Daniel Willis
    • Sgt. Dave Kriss
    • Det. Brad Robinson
    • Det. Ben Leitch
    • Det. Joe Cracchiolo
    • Det. Rob Gorniak
    • Det. Dan Allen
  • Grand Rapids Combined Auto Theft Unit
    • Det. Mike Coval
    • Det. Pam Keen

For more information about the Anniversary Breakfast, please visit www.1800242HEAT.com or follow H.E.A.T. on Facebook and Twitter@1800242HEAT. If you have any information on auto theft-related activities, report it to H.E.A.T.’s 24/7 toll-free tip line at 1-800-242-HEAT or to the H.E.A.T. website. You may be eligible for rewards of up to $10,000 for your information.

About H.E.A.T.
H.E.A.T. works with Michigan law enforcement agencies to follow-up on tips. Tipsters are awarded up to $1,000 if the tip leads to the arrest and warrant of a suspected car thief or a person suspected of auto theft-related insurance fraud. H.E.A.T. rewards up to $2,000 for information leading to the issuance of a warrant for a carjacking suspect. Rewards of up to $10,000 are issued if a tip results in the arrest and binding over for trial of a suspected theft ring or chop shop operators. The H.E.A.T. tip line is monitored by the Michigan State Police and funded by Michigan’s auto insurance companies.

SOURCE Help Eliminate Auto Thefts (H.E.A.T.)


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