WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Police say they are still investigating after a group of 12 suspects was arrested for 22 store burglaries throughout Kent County.
Marijuana dispensaries, liquor and convenience stores that sold vape pens were targeted by the group, according to police. The Metro Pattern Crimes Task Force, a team of officers and deputies from Wyoming, Kent County, Kentwood and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have been working on the case since Jan. 30.
Four stolen handguns and 12 stolen cars were discovered during three residential search warrants conducted by MPACT. Police believe the group is to blame for 22 burglaries that happened throughout Kent County in Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Wyoming, Lowell, Cedar Springs and townships of Solon, Cascade, Gaines, Plainfield and Byron.
“A lot of this happens in strings, and that’s what this pattern crime team was developed to help prevent and help solve — these string of crimes,” said Lt. Andrew Koeller with the Wyoming Department of Public Safety.
MPACT arrested the suspects, ranging in age from 16 to 21 years old, over the last several weeks. The last one was taken into custody on March 14. They are set to face weapons charges, breaking and entering with intent and possessing a stolen vehicle.
“This is still ongoing and they’re still developing more suspects as they go. Through interviews, arrests, search warrants … they are continuing to build and grow this investigation,” Koeller said.
Police say they will consider charges of conducting a criminal enterprise, which carries a 20-year sentence.
“Obviously, creating such a large group to work together takes a lot of effort … that’s why they’re looking into that criminal enterprise (charge),” said Koeller.
He said the arrested suspects have been linked to the break-in at D. Schuler’s Fine Wines and Spirits on 44th Street west of Byron Center Avenue in Wyoming on Jan. 27. That same night, several other shops were hit in metro Grand Rapids. The thieves took alcohol, vapes, and tobacco products.
The suspects are from Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Walker, Coopersville and Alpine Township. MPACT said the group may be responsible for other burglaries that happened outside of Kent County.
MPACT and law enforcement partners are still investigating.
Anyone with information about the group or the burglaries should contact Wyoming Police at 616.530.7300 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345 or 866.774.2345.