Norville A. Bolden, 43, of Detroit, was arraigned Tuesday on misdemeanor charges, The Royal Oak (Mich.) Daily Tribune reported.
Police said they caught Bolden removing a hub cap Monday from a Royal Oak detective's vehicle while it was parked in Madison Heights.
"The detective caught him in the act," Madison Heights Police Lt. Robert Anderson was quoted as saying.
Anderson said the detective was coming out of a store when he saw a silver Pontiac parked at a 45-degree angle to his vehicle.
"As the detective got closer he could see someone squatting down between the two vehicles," Anderson said. "He saw the suspect stand up suddenly, get into the Pontiac and drive off."
The stolen hub cap was later found in Bolden's car, Anderson said.
Bolden, who has a criminal history that goes back to 1989, was most recently paroled in 2012, the newspaper reported.