Private eye cleared of gun charge
Just hours after controversial county Commissioner Carey Torrice lost her re-election bid on Tuesday, her husband was informed that a long criminal investigation that focused on a possible gun charge against him had ended. Mike Torrice was told by the Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday morning that he would face no charges and he was free to retrieve the disputed firearm. Authorities had questioned whether his gun — a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver — was illegally obtained. A private investigator, Torrice had insisted that he provided sufficient documentation to the police to prove that the gun was legal. The investigation stems from a bizarre May 27 incident in which the Torrices were accused of trying to stage a pedestrian-auto accident to destroy the reputation of Carey Torrice’s primary election opponent. “As I stated all along, the gun was fully registered,” said Torrice, co-owner, with his wife, of Eye Spy Investigations in Fraser. “It was compliant with all federal, state and local laws.” Sheriff Mark Hackel said that the Prosecutor’s Office, after looking at the evidence compiled by the Sheriff’s Office, decided not to pursue charges. Hackel said his department made no attempt to delay the decision until after Tuesday’s primary election. “All our people do is run an investigation and then we send the paperwork to the Prosecutor’s Office when we’re comfortable with all the information we have collected,” Hackel said. “Was it politically motivated? I don’t think so, but I can’t answer that. I have no idea.” Prosecutor Eric Smith and his top assistant, Jim Langtry, could not be reached for comment on the Torrice case. The Prosecutor’s Office had previously indicated that federal authorities entered into the investigation, but Torrice might only face a civil infraction. Last week, Torrice had angrily insisted that the Prosecutor’s Office charge him or end the investigation. “My name has been slammed enough in the paper,” he said. The charges stem from the alleged attempt by the Torrices to stage an auto accident that would implicate her election opponent, fellow Commissioner Jeff Sprys. The Torrices were lingering outside of Sprys’ home on the night of May 27, cruising the streets with two guns in their vehicle and a phony license plate on their bumper. Deputies found the revolver in Torrice’s waistband and a .40-caliber Glock handgun in the vehicle. The Glock was registered; police could not trace any history of the Smith & Wesson. After a lengthy investigation by the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, police reports indicate the Torrices were keeping tabs on Sprys as he drove home on his street, Millstone Drive in Macomb Township. An Eye Spy employee, Roberto Huera, then “fell into” the back of Sprys’ vehicle and flopped onto the pavement. He suffered no significant injuries. At the time, Sprys, a Macomb Township Democrat who was locked in an intense re-election campaign with Carey Torrice, a Clinton Township Democrat, claimed that the Torrices had been “stalking” him and tried to frame him in a fake pedestrian-auto accident. The Torrices claim that Sprys was drunk and is guilty of a hit-and-run accident. Sprys faces no charges while Mike Torrice is awaiting a court date on a misdemeanor charge of driving with improper plates. After months of damaging news headlines related to various incidents involving the Torrices, in Tuesday’s Democratic primary election Carey Torrice managed just 35 percent of the vote while Sprys garnered 65 percent. That means Torrice will be ousted from the Board of Commissioners at the end of the year while Sprys advances to the November general election.