Typically, when law enforcement pursues a suspect who has failed to turn himself in on several outstanding warrants, it takes the dedicated effort of officers and some tips from the community to finally bring the person in.
It’s fair to say what happened in Redford Township, Mich., this month was not typical: A suspect turned himself in after making — and losing — a pretty inadvisable bet with police … involving doughnuts.
Despite being wanted on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, among other misdemeanors, Michael Martin Zaydel was (rather inexplicably) corresponding with officers in the Detroit suburb over Facebook. And in a particularly audacious taunt, apparently delivered under the alias Champagne Torino in a private message, Zaydel had an offer for them.
“If you’re [sic] next post gets a thousand shares I’ll turn myself in along with a dozen doughnuts. And that’s a promise,” he wrote. “And I’ll pick up every piece of litter around all your public schools let’s see if you can get those shares.”
Officers took him up on that bet — posting a screenshot of the message on the department’s Facebook page with a plea for 1,000 shares and a little extra tongue-in-cheek urging: “Donuts!!!! He promised us donuts! You know how much we love Donuts!”
It’s perhaps no surprise what happened next: 1,000 shares in a little over an hour. As of this writing, less than two weeks after the post went up, it has gotten more than 4,500.
“He may or may not be a man of his word,” cautioned a celebratory post published a mere hour and a half later. Still, the officers who signed that post, Sgt. Duane Gregg and Officer Jennifer Mansfield, said it would only be a matter of time before they got Zaydel — whether or not he actually kept his promise. “It is our experience everyone gets caught at some point. He has drawn a lot of attention to himself, and that makes it hard to hide from reality.”
And sure, more than a week passed with no sign of Zaydel. It was so much time, in fact, police posted a wanted notice for him with his potential whereabouts (“possibly local donut shops,” they added hopefully).
But then, on Monday, the unexpected happened.
“This evening at approximately 6:30 pm Michael Zaydel made good on his promise to turn himself in to RTPD for his outstanding warrants,” police posted. “He walked in on his own, and not only did he bring the donuts, he brought one bagel!”
The treats could not save him from a jail cell, however.
The department told NPR that Zaydel was sentenced to serve time in county jail for 39 days — with an additional 30 possible if he fails to pay his court fees.