Almont PD awards Rite-Aid employee


ALMONT — After more than 22 years in the retail business, Tricia Buzzell has seen her share of interesting characters. She’s also become acquainted with the loyal customers who shop at the Rite-Aid in the Family Farm and Home plaza on Van Dyke, just north of downtown.

As store manager for the past five years, Buzzell along with overseeing day-to-day operations, observes all the happenings throughout the store. Sometimes what she sees is surprising.

Such was the case on June 28, when she discovered evidence of shoplifting at the store. A shopping basket with security labels from packs of popular energy drinks sitting on a shelf was suspect, so Buzzell decided to review the security videotapes from cameras located throughout the store.

Almont Rite-Aid Manager Tricia Buzzell accepts certificate of appreciation from Almont Police Officer Cortland Larry for helping police apprehend two shoplifting suspects last week.

Her suspicion turned out to be true. Two men were captured on tape —one removing the security labels from the energy drinks, and the other swiping a bottle of Crown Royal whisky from the shelf earlier in the day. She called the Almont Police Department non-emergency number to report the theft around 12:30 p.m. She provided police with a detailed description of the suspects, and went about her day.

Minutes later, Buzzell got another surprise. The suspects returned to the store.

“They came walking in and I couldn’t believe it,” Buzzell says. “I called 911 as they were leaving the store and went outside to the parking lot to see where they were going.”

Buzzell’s call and the Almont Police Department’s quick response resulted in the capture of both suspects, says Officer Cortland Larry.

“She gave a detailed description and told us what they were carrying so I was able to detain one of them in the parking lot,” Larry says. “The other was found hiding in a wooded area nearby.”

Larry says both suspects are from Roseville, and were in possession of drug equipment as well as suspected drugs. After placing the men under arrest and running their information through LEIN, the Law Enforcement Information Network, he discovered they both had a long list of brushes with the law.

“They both had an extensive criminal history with numerous prior arrests for retail fraud and possession of drugs,” Larry says. “They are what I would call career criminals.”

For her efforts in thwarting further criminal acts, Almont Police Chief Andrew Martin and the department wanted to acknowledge Buzzell for quick action and keen attention to detail.

“If she wasn’t so observant and didn’t give us such a detailed description of the suspects, we would not have been able to apprehend them,” Larry says. “We wanted to recognize her outstanding role in the apprehension of two career criminals.”

Buzzell says she was honored by and surprised at the recognition.

“I wasn’t expecting it. It’s kind of cool,” she says.

Buzzell says she enjoys working at the Almont Rite-Aid, especially because of the regular customers and the hometown feel of the store.

“We’re still kind of a small store. We have regular customers coming in all the time, and we still have the small-town, neighborhood-feel here in Almont,” Buzzell says.