A combination of diligence, community connections, quick thinking and a little bit of luck led to Petitpren Inc. driver Justen Bechamp spotting the vehicle at the center of a manhunt across Metro Detroit and alerting police during his deliveries last month.
What started as a normal day on May 17 for Bechamp delivering beer to small businesses throughout Macomb County turned into a pivotal moment that led to the arrest of a man in connection with two stabbings, one of them fatal, in Clinton Township.
“We’re extremely proud of Justen for going above and beyond to serve his community while on the job at Petitpren Inc.,” said Petitpren Vice President and General Manager Jamey Thompson. “His efforts helped the police apprehend the suspect quickly and prevent anyone else from being harmed. The incident is an example of Petitpren’s strong connections in the communities we proudly serve.”
On the morning of May 17, a woman was fatally stabbed in Roseville, followed by another stabbing in St. Clair Shores. The St. Clair Shores victim survived, and police were searching for the assailant when Bechamp’s dog-sitter called to let him know she was on lockdown at a local school. She gave him the vehicle description and told him to keep an eye out for a dark-colored Chevrolet HHR. Several minutes later, Bechamp pulled into a Warren alley behind Hot Shots Bar & Music Café and spotted that exact vehicle. For a second, he considered it could be a coincidence.
“It didn’t register at first, but then I went into the building and had the bartender lock the doors and call the police,” said Bechamp, noting police were on the scene within minutes and arrested the assailant. “It was unreal, but I’m glad I was able to do my part and stop this person from doing more harm in our community.”
Shane Burns, a 31-year-old Washington Township man, was charged with first-degree premeditated murder, attempted murder, disarming a police officer, possession of ammunition, felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of felony firearm, and carrying a concealed weapon in connection with the stabbings. Burns remains in police custody pending court proceedings.
St. Clair Shores Mayor Kip Walby breathed a sigh of relief when Burns was caught and called Thompson to praise Bechamp’s quick thinking that led to the arrest.
“It was such a huge relief to hear this person was caught so he couldn’t hurt anyone else,” Walby said. “I wanted Jamey to know how much I appreciated the fact Justen took the initiative to make that potentially life-saving call. Without people like Justen serving as the eyes and ears of our community, I don’t want to think about what else could have happened.”
Thompson said the day’s events underscore what Petitpren Inc. is all about – giving back to the communities they serve – even in ways unimagined.
“We’re great at delivering beer and serving our customers but we also pride ourselves on being good stewards in our communities,” Thompson said. “Of course, it’s not every day we’re stopping crime sprees.”