Kidnapping and Robbery

Kidnapping seemed to be one of the crimes of choice in the country during 1970's and Ann Arbor had a number them, one which occurred on December 9, 1973. Clint Castor owned the Pretzel Bell restaurant which was located at 120 E. Liberty and he lived on Rumsey Street, which is on the city's north side.

At 11:30 p.m., the Castors received a knock on the door by a man who stated his car had broke down and needed to use the phone. Mr. Castor agreed and let the subject in to do so. Moments later two masked men burst into the house wearing ski masks and carrying handguns.

Castor and his wife were tied up and Mr. Castor was pistol whipped while the suspects demanded money from him.

Castor told the suspects that the only money he had was at the restaurant. Two of the men then untied Castor, stole his car and drove him to the restaurant, where he retrieved $1,500, while one of the suspects remained with Mrs. Castor.

As they were driving back to the north side of the town, the suspects discussed killing Castor. Hearing this, Mr. Castor jumped from the car while it was still moving and the suspects then sped off. Castor quickly phoned the police, who responded to the residence and found that the suspect at Castor's house had already fled, leaving Mrs. Castor tied up.

Officers began searching for the Castor's stolen car and found it on Champagne Street. Three men were seen entering a home there and quickly exited, fleeing on foot. One of the suspects was caught and charged with the crime at the scene and two others were later arrested by Ann Arbor Detectives.

Shots Fired at Officers and Bank Robbery Suspect Nabbed

Luckily, most officers will go through their careers without being shot at. Officer Craig Mason did experience this fear on May 2, 1975, when an Ann Arbor man fired at him, while he was being chased for his alleged involvement in a break-in.

Officers Mason and Gary Oxender were responding to Trowbridge Court in reference to a residential break-in. They observed the suspect coming around the corner of a building on a bicycle as they arrived on scene. He continued on his bike and fired a shot from a handgun at a woman standing nearby. The woman was not hit and Officer Mason pursued the bicyclist.

The suspect lost control of the bike and began running on foot. He fired a shot at Officer Mason, who returned fire. Officer Mason did not hit the suspect, who continued to run and was lost in a neighboring apartment complex.

Officers later received a tip that the suspect was hiding in a home on Hikone Street. The suspect was arrested without any further shots being fired and was charged with breaking and entering and assault with intent to murder.

Another interesting incident involving shots fired occurred on May, 9, 1975, just days after the Trowbridge Court incident. George Williams entered the NBD branch on Plymouth Road and handed a teller a note demanding money. The teller gave Williams $555 and he then fled out of the bank.

Officer Mark Parin happened to be on patrol nearby, as Williams drove his vehicle from the scene, nearly striking Parin's patrol vehicle. At this point Officer Parin did not know a robbery had just occurred at the bank. He radioed communications and they told him the NBD had just been robbed.

The suspect vehicle fled onto southbound US-23 with Officer Parin in pursuit at speeds over 100 mph. The suspect vehicle exited onto Geddes, where it collided into another vehicle and continued on.

Officer Parin pulled near the suspect vehicle and fired one shot from his revolver, shattering the rear window. The suspect vehicle stopped and Williams was placed under arrest. Williams was transported to the hospital where he received fourteen stitches in his cheek and hand, as a result of either flying glass or the bullet.

Officer Martha Parks also was involved in a hair-raising incident on September 25, 1975. Officer Parks was on patrol when she observed two suspicious subjects entering Colby's Custom Clothing, located at 305 E. Liberty.

After a few minutes, Officer Parks entered the store and observed the cash register open and no clerk could be found. Officer Parks then went to the rear of the store and observed the two salesclerks, who appeared to be tied up.

Officer Parks' hunch was correct as she had walked into an armed robbery. As she continued through the store, one of the suspects pointed a handgun at her and fired. Officer Parks was not struck and began chasing the suspects out the back of the store. She radioed for help and the suspects were arrested at the corner of N. University and Thayer.