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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Locksmith, wife held at gunpoint for car key programming laptops; puppy stolen – Southgate News Herald

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A Trenton couple is shaken to the core and heartbroken after the husband had a gun leveraged in his side and his wife had one in her face as the men demanded laptops and stole their puppy.
Jason Schlegel, a locksmith for a mobile company, said he was lured to Gateway Townhomes in Romulus Wednesday night under the guise that someone needed his locksmith services to make a key.
“It was a total set-up,” Schlegel said.
His wife, Amber, and their French bulldog Boston terrier named Rocky, were along for the ride.
The appointment was set for 8:30 p.m.
According to Schlegel, he pulled up in his van at about 8:32 p.m. and was approached by the man who called about getting a key made.
He said it only took seconds before the situation, which unfolded in front of a playing child, turned potentially deadly.
“A man stuck a gun in my side and said, “Be quiet and no one gets hurt,”’ Schlegel said. “He said to give up the laptop.”
Schlegel said his laptops are valuable because they can be programmed to make car keys for sought after vehicles.
He said once the keys are made and thieves can go and steal them rather quickly.
In what could be considered a botched robbery, one of the suspects saw a bag in the vehicle and took it thinking it was a laptop bag.
“It was actually the dog’s diaper bag,” Schlegel said of the botched robbery. “The criminals knew what they wanted, but didn’t know what it looked like inside a box. What they were looking for was right in front of their faces and they missed it.”
The man who met with Schlegel for the alleged appointment was black and had long braided hair.
The other two men who later joined in were also black and were wearing masks with only their eyes showing.
All three were about 6 foot tall and appeared to be in their 20s.
According to Schlegel, there was a man looking in the back of the van for laptops, one in the front where he and his wife were and one who eventually drove the getaway car.
They didn’t get what they were after, but they still took things of value to the couple.
As they grabbed boxes of various computer programming tools, they also took Rocky before fleeing.
“He was a bonus,” the owner said. “He was there and they had an opportunity.”
The whole incident took place quickly.
By 8:35, the couple was on the phone with Romulus police reporting the incident.
“We’re lucky we’re here,” Schlegel said. “I feared for our lives. They were waving the guns around. You never know, one could have gone off.”
The couple said they can replace tools, but they can’t replace Rocky.
“Please, give us our baby back  — if you have a heart,” Amber Schlegel said.
Schlegel operates primarily Downriver, said he is going to install some safety changes in how he operates as a result of this ordeal.
Those changes will involve new polices for clients and cameras on his van.
Romulus police were making plans to canvas the area for possible surveillance footage of the incident.
The Schlegels just got Rocky on June 7, and are offering a reward to get him back as soon as possible.
The reward will be handled through the police department.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Romulus police at 734-941-8400.
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