A security guard for Guardian Guard Services, the outside security firm used by Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center, was taken into custody for stealing money out of the purses of choir members performing at Ann Arbor Huron High School’s Graduation Ceremony on Wednesday. The suspect was caught on camera going through the purses and hiding the funds in his shoe.
Upon detainment, Eastern Michigan University Department of Public Safety Personnel learned the suspect also had a warrant out for his arrest for aggravated domestic violence from Dearborn Heights. The suspect was turned over to the Dearborn Heights Police Department, and this matter has been sent to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
Guardian Guard Services is a firm which provides security staffing in the Michigan and Ohio areas. According to its website, it was established in 1930 and is one of the largest independently owned security companies in the United States. Guardian Guard Services has been used by EMU’s Convocation Center for the last three years.
According to Mark Monahan, Director of the Eastern Michigan Convocation Center, Guardian Guard Services won the EMU’s Convocation Center’s contract competing against approximately five other security firms in the bid process. Monahan said that Guardian Guard Services has performed well in the past and this was unfortunate because it appeared as if one bad apple slipped through the cracks of their hiring policy.
Employees from Guardian Guard Services’ corporate headquarters refused to comment on the incident. Guardian Guard Service personnel manager Matt Moore, who supervised the suspect, was prohibited from speaking to The Eastern Echo by Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center Assistant Director Marcy Szabo. Moore was supervising the security for another high school graduation being performed at the Convocation Center at the time. Szabo said she needed Moore to be concentrating on his contractual duties.
EMU DPS Chief of Police, Bob Heighes, said all the money was recovered from the suspect and returned to the victims. Heighes said state law requires security firms to provide background checks on its guards, but the warrant from Dearborn Heights was issued last week and it was likely Guardian Guard Services was unaware of its existence. Heighes confirmed the suspect’s employment at Guardian Guard Services was terminated.
Walter Kraft, Vice President for Communications at Eastern Michigan University released this statement in regards to the matter.
“We take these matters very seriously,” Kraft said. “We’re pleased to know that the security measures we have in place were effective. Most importantly, the suspect was apprehended and material that was taken from the purses was returned to the owners. We will be looking into the matter further with the vendor involved to assess how this individual came to be working on our premises and whether contractual processes and protocols were properly followed.”
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