George Hunter, The Detroit News


A Detroit police homicide sergeant has been suspended after department officials found him wearing a murder victim’s expensive watch.

Sgt. Alex Vinson was the officer in charge of a case several months ago involving an unknown murder victim who was found wearing an expensive, German-made watch, Detroit Police Chief James Craig confirmed.

The watch was photographed and put into storage in the Homicide Section’s property room. The victim has not been identified, and the homicide case has gone cold.

This week, while Vinson was in Idaho for advanced police training, fellow homicide detectives decided to reopen the case.

The detectives wanted to take another look at the watch — but when they removed the victim’s belongings from the property room, the watch wasn’t the same one that was photographed at the start of the case. Instead, it was a cheaper model, Craig confirmed.

The detectives quickly informed police officials about the discrepancy, Craig said.

“We were made aware of this a few nights ago and immediately initiated an internal investigation,” Craig said. “We directed (Vinson) to return home.”

Craig added the FBI helped police recover the watch, which Vinson was wearing during the training session. Vinson returned to Michigan Wednesday, and was read his Miranda rights by Internal Affairs officers.

“The case in ongoing, and the sergeant has been suspended while we prepare a warrant for review by prosecutors,” Craig said.

Attempts to reach Vinson for comment Thursday were unsuccessful, and a call to his union, the Lieutenants and Sergeants Association, was not returned.

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