Man clears name after wrongfully accused of robbing Pontiac McDonald's

Albert Rucks spent 3 days in jail, months pleading his innocence until justice was served

By Roger Weber - Reporter

PONTIAC, Mich. -

There is no one better than Albert Rucks to make us appreciate the phrase, "innocent until proven guilty."

This past October, a man stole money from the cash register at a McDonald's restaurant in Pontiac. No arrest was made until Jan. 5 when Rucks was using the drive-thru.

"I paid for it, as I pulled to the next window where you pick up your food I was told it was not quite ready, can you pull around?" Rucks said.

A store employee called police thinking Rucks was the bad guy from last fall.

"As I'm waiting for my food, in less than 2 minutes there is like anywhere from five to 10 police cars just surrounding my car," he said.

Police questioned him before putting him in handcuffs.

"The whole time I am going to jail I'm pleading with them, 'You got the wrong person,'" he said.

One of Rucks' arguments, which didn't fly, was that in the weeks before his arrest he had repeatedly purchased food inside the restaurant.

"Never any type of bad vibe, any type of, you know, I'm thinking something's wrong. Never," he said.

His mug shot was on TV. He spent three days in jail before bonding out.

"Break down. Lost sleep. I definitely shed tears," he said.

An innocent man could only wait for his day in court. It came on Tuesday as the key witness recanted.

"The girl who initially called police and sounded the alarm told them, 'Yes, we made a mistake. That's not the person,'" Rucks said.

The judge ordered the case dismissed. Rucks says he won't be ordering any more food at McDonald's.

"I'm here at my favorite restaurant being arrested," he said.

Rucks will be going back to court, but this time as a plaintiff in a civil case. His lawyer plans to file a lawsuit next week against McDonald's and the Oakland County Sheriff's Department.

Rucks works at Oakland Community College. He says he always will be grateful to the college for allowing him to keep working after the arrest, telling him he was innocent until proven guilty.

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