CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Seven people, including five minors, were arrested near Grand Rapids early Tuesday in connection to recent purse snatchings, deputies say.

The suspects include a 19-year-old woman and a 16-year-old girl from Grand Rapids, a 17-year-old and two 16-year-old boys from Grand Rapids, an 18-year-old man from Plainfield Township and a 17-year-old boy from Gaines Township.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office said that around 2 a.m., a deputy on patrol in the area of 28th Street and I-96 in Cascade Township spotted a Jeep believed to be linked to the purse snatchings. Deputies responded and found the Jeep parked at a hotel. The driver saw them, tried to drive away and hit a cruiser and a detective’s car, deputies said.

The five people in the Jeep were arrested, as were two others in a room at the hotel.

Deputies say they found stolen property, including a stolen gun. The Jeep was stolen, too.

Sgt. Eric Brunner with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office said a multiagency task force has been focusing in on these types of cases. 

“Over the past several months our agency and others have been well aware of purse snatchings that have taken place around metro Grand Rapids,” Brunner said.

Deputies say they are working with other agencies to gather more information.

“They go out from the hotel, it’s close to commercial businesses and places that they’re stealing from, and they go back to that hotel,” Brunner said.

Investigators say these types of crimes can very dangerous, especially with guns involved. They have been focusing more on solving the cases.

“(Victims are) alone by themselves,” Brunner said. “They are going shopping. Just imagine one of our family members going shopping at their local grocery store or some other retailer and then they are mugged in the parking lot for their purse, so it’s very frustrating as a law enforcement agency as we investigate these crimes.”

The suspects’ names were not immediately released. They are expected to face charges linked to the stolen property, gun and Jeep. More arrests are expected as deputies continue to focus on these types of crimes.

“I think the number of people arrested today, seven, is unique. However, it’s not case closed after this, there are plenty of other cases,” Brunner said.