Crawford County Deputies Catch Suspect in Cadillac Pizza Theft

"We’re a lot safer with him off the streets. Everybody, for that matter."

This man, accused of stealing pizza from a delivery driver, hammer in-hand.

Investigators say the man on Northern Michigan’s Most Wanted list is now in jail.

We’ve been following this case since the robbery on the night of May 19.

Tuesday, with the help of community tips, Crawford County Sheriff’s deputies found and arrested Damian Spear.

You may recall back in May, a G&D Pizza delivery driver in Cadillac went to drop off an order in the Country Acres neighborhood.

A masked man with a hammer, which he claimed was a hatchet, came up from behind and demanded the pizzas.

Later, Deanna Spencer, who lived in the home where the pizza was being delivered to, was sentenced to nine months in jail for intimidating a witness in connection to the case.

9&10’s Cody Boyer and photojournalist Jeff Blakeman have tonight’s top story, with how police caught the robbery suspect.

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The Michigan State Police Fugitive Task Force says it was difficult finding Damian Spear.

But tips in Crawford County led police to Spear Tuesday.

He was found hiding under a bed at his friend’s house and is in now behind bars.

"A little panic," says Tabitha Lasceski, who lives across the street from where it happened. "It was scary."

A masked man, claiming he had a hatchet, ambushed a pizza guy and stole pizzas…

Months later, neighbors like Tabitha remember the night well.

"We moved here from the thumb of Michigan, thought we were in a somewhat-safe community and just really changed our mind right quick," Lasceski says.

"This guy would be towards the top of the scale as far as being a danger to society," says Det. Kevin Hansz, MSP Fugitive Task Force.

Det. Hansz says they were tracking him for months but could never pinpoint his location.

"The last part of the summer he was camping in the woods in different places so we’ve been having a challenge finding him," Det. Hansz says.

"It’s just really important to get some closure in this case," says Cadillac City Police Chief Todd Golnick. "To be honest, we were pretty surprised he was able to evade arrest this long."

Chief Golnick says all departments worked hand-in-hand to finally catch him in Crawford County.

"A lot of different entities worked together and were able to get a successful resolution out of it," Chief Golnick says. "At the end of the day, the police department cannot do these kinds of things alone."

The neighborhood it happened in feels closure, too.

"I have two school-aged children and feel a little more confident letting them at least leave the yard without adult supervision," Lasceski says.

Spear could face up to life in prison if he is convicted of armed robbery.