Shoplifter Charged After Assaulting Grand Traverse County Deputies

What began as a case of shoplifting quickly turned into the assault of a few Grand Traverse County deputies.

Luke Justin Mendrek of Traverse City was arraigned in court on Monday.Gt Assault Vo 5 031400 00 05 11still001 The 42-year-old is facing charges on three counts of resisting and obstructing a police officer.

Mendrek was recognized as a returning shoplifter at the JCPenny in Grand Traverse Mall on March 10.

Once deputies arrived, he pushed a clothing rack and shopping cart into one deputy before running away through the parking lot.

Officers say even after being tased by one deputy, he continued to fight back.

“The deputy tried to grab a hold of him, the suspect was grabbing the deputy’s taser at one point, trying to disarm the deputy from that, shortly thereafter another deputy arrived and was able to take the suspect down,” said Grand Traverse County Capt. Randy Fewless.

Mendrek was previously arrested by Traverse City Police in 2020 and charged for the delivery of controlled substances and operating while intoxicated.