'Cat burglar' with criminal history in 3 counties gets prison

A man who is suspected of being a "cat burglar" across the region has been sent to prison.

Derek Cathey, 53, of Detroit was sentenced last week to serve between 4-20 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree home invasion in Wayne County Circuit Court, according to online court records. Cathey was charged in two separate home invasion incidents — one in Livonia and one in Dearborn.

Cathey was arrested earlier this summer after Livonia police suspected him of breaking into homes in the city. A team pursued him, following him across the Detroit area to cities such as Royal Oak, Warren, Madison Heights and Dearborn Heights, before police saw him break into a home in Dearborn. After following his vehicle, he was pulled over by police in Garden City, where it was found he was in possession of a purse that belonged to the resident whose home Cathey had broken into earlier that night.

He was arrested and charged in Dearborn's 20th District Court with the crime. Later, he was charged in Livonia's 16th District Court with first-degree home invasion for his involvement in the Livonia break-in, which police say took place on Weyher.

He pleaded guilty Sept. 30 before circuit Judge Margie Braxton.

As a part of Cathey pleading guilty to the two counts of home invasion, other criminal counts such as identity theft, stealing/retaining a financial transaction device without consent and illegal use/sale of a financial transaction device were dismissed. Those counts stemmed from the arrest in Dearborn.

Cathey, who has a criminal history that dates back to 1978 and spans across Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, received credit for 78 days of jail time served, according to court records. The Michigan Department of Corrections lists his earliest release date as July 30, 2020, and his latest release date of July 30, 2036.


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