Three await sentencing in jewelry store B & E
By Charles Sercombe
A Hamtramck man was found not guilty of conspiring to break into a Mt. Pleasant jewelry store after a week-long trial.
But two other suspects in the case, Leonard Dushi and Petrit Imeri, both 20 and of Casmere St., pleaded,,no-contest to break-in charges.
Another member of the group, Lisa Bardy, 23, of Norwalk St., pleaded no-contest to conspiracy to commit burglary.
Gjon Bucaj, 23, of Trowbridge St., the only suspect to request a trial, beat the charges of conspiracy to commit burglary and possession 1 burglary tools. He had been held in custody since January following his arrest after a Mt. Pleasant jewelry store was broken into.
Bucaj's attorney, James Galen Jr., said his client had driven with Bardy to her grandmother's cottage in Beavertown, just north of Mt. Pleasant on the same day as the break-in. Although Bucaj was acquainted with the other two suspects, he was unaware of a break-in being planned for that day or Bardy's role in it, Galen said.
"He was on his way to a vacation that turned into a nightmare for him," Galen said.
But according to police testimony, Bucaj was seen driving in Mt. Pleasant with Dushi and Petrit on the eve of the break-in.
Galen lashed out at Troy police, who were investigating the suspects following two burglaries in Troy, for sweeping Bucaj up with little evidence. "They never had my client, Gjon Bucaj, one foot near Arthur's (the Mt. Pleasant jewelry store). No foot print. Nothing," said Galen.
Troy police teamed up with Hamtramck. investigators in a surveillance of the suspects. Hamtramck police say the group is suspected in a number of jewelry store break-ins in the metro area and in several other states. There are no pending charges against any of the defendants.
Dushi and Imeri are in custody in Isabella County jail pending an April 23 sentencing date. They face 10 years in prison. Bardy has been out on bond and has an April 7 sentencing date. Under her plea agreement, she. faces no more than one year in jail.
None of the men is employed, but Bardy works as a secretary at Hamtramck High School.