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The Dakota Planet

"We Revolve Around You"

The Dakota Planet

"We Revolve Around You"

The Dakota Planet

Great Lakes Crossing

Great lakes mall faces another tragic incident, making the malls reputation even worse.
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Three suspects are currently being hunted by police after an unexpected robbery at Geat Lakes Mall.

According to the Auburn Hills authorities, the thieves used hammers to smash through the glass cases containing the jewelry before quickly grabbing as many valuables as they can before security could get to them. The robbers then took off running out of the mall and swiftly got into a black SUV before driving away.

The robbery took place around 5pm on January 13; the three men were wearing surgical masks to disguise their faces during the smash-and-grab.

Witnesses reported gunfire while the robbery was happening, turns out those reports were not true. The gunshot sounds were ruled out to be the sound of the hammers hitting the glass display. No one was hurt and, surprisingly no one was threatened during the break in

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The suspects fit the description of: African American, mid 20’s, each 6 feet tall with thin builds. All three men wore black hoodies, gloves, and hats. Police are actively trying to identify the robbers and take them into custody.

The men allegedly stole $11,000 worth of jewelry from the kiosk at Great Lakes Crossing Mall. The kiosk was owned by Helzberg Diamond.

This incident has grabbed tons of public attention from locals, but this isn’t the first incident Great Lakes Crossing Mall has seen. The mall is located in Auburn Hills, MI and has had a bad reputation long before the robbery took place. People on review sights saying that the mall has “dangerous crowds” and an “unsafe environment”. While people tend to avoid the mall, tons of people still shop there every day.

The mall has over 200 stores and restaurants and is anchored by Bass Pro Shops, Burlington Coat Factory, J.C. Penney, Macy’s, and Sears. Great Lakes Crossing is also home to Sea Life Michigan Aquarium, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan, and The Big Wheel. The massive size of the mall comes with a large population of people which brings many safety concerns.

Some examples of the tragic incidents that seem like regularly take place in the mall:
In 2015, a shooting that took place in the mall killed a 19-year-old man.
In 2016, A 14-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in one of the bathrooms in the mall.
In 2017, a 17-year-old girl was stabbed to death in the parking lot.

Great Lakes Crossing has had an influx of security throughout the years and still faces a lot of dangerous situations. Security recommends always staying aware of your surroundings and reporting suspicious activity as soon as you see it.

Along with the long list of incidents that come with the mall, there’s a popular rumor that the mall is a “hot spot” for sex trafficking. According to Auburn Hill Police, these claims posted online are all false. Chief Doreen Olko said this in a statement, “Frankly, I’m insulted that some commenters have suggested that this kind of thing is happening regularly and that we ‘want to keep it hush-hush.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. “None of this Facebook stuff is fact, and when we have to keep investigating rumors over and over, it is a waste of valuable investigative time.” He also included that the police has never had a missing persons report from Great Lakes Crossing Mall.
Here is the full statement from the chief released in 2017, at the peak of the sex trafficking rumors surrounding the mall:
“Once again we have confronted the recurring Facebook rumor about Great Lakes Crossings Mall being a hot bed of sex trafficking. I’ve been reading through the comments to learn what people are saying on this topic. Frankly, I’m insulted that some commenters have suggested that this kind of thing is happening regularly and that we “want to keep it hush-hush.” Nothing could be further from the truth. All the members of our department take sex trafficking seriously. We investigate thoroughly any report anytime. We know that we have no missing persons reports – now or ever.
Because we are cops, we are a bunch of fact based people. We believe strongly that facts and truth are important. And the fact is that there are no indications of sex trafficking rings or kidnappings going on there. We have a group of officers who work out of a substation right at the mall so they are in and around the mall all the time. We respond to things there quickly and with the necessary emphasis. None of this Facebook stuff is fact — and when we have to keep investigating rumors over and over it is a waste of valuable investigative time.
If there is a person out there who is uncomfortable at any time while at the mall, they should call 911 and report the situation as soon as possible. You can also find help from any mall security person. And for those people who say that they don’t feel comfortable dropping off their kids at the mall without adults, I say THANKS. Unsupervised kids are a continuing problem to us.
Here is where the real problem of sex crimes against kids exists: on their phones and computers. Are you checking their phones? Apps like Snapchat and Kik are a growing problem. We are seeing these cases nearly daily.
Lieutenant Ryan Gagnon was just in my office. He is recently transferred from Operations Division to Investigations. He has never been a detective so has had limited interaction with sex crimes. He was telling me how shocked he is to see the volume of these types of cases. He is shocked that kids are communicating on line with persons representing themselves as other kids who ask them to photo or video themselves naked and then extorting them to perform more and more by threatening to post the photos and videos. It is horrifying. Want to prevent sex crimes on kids? Know what they are doing online.”

It is important to always be aware of the facts to ensure your safety.

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Ella Goy, Writer
Ella is currently in her Senior year. This is her first year in The Dakota Planet. Ever since she was young she has found a lot of joy in writing and photography. She hopes to bring attention to more clubs and sports and the students behind it. After highschool she plans on going to college and majoring in Journalism. She's so excited for the 23-24 school year!
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