GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A string of businesses were hit in Kent and Ottawa counties: Doors busted in and items stolen.
“One was at a gas station where a car was driven through the front doors,” Kent County Sheriff Office’s Sgt. Eric Brunner said.
Kent County deputies say the subjects were using a stolen car.
“Just this past Friday an observant Grand Rapids police officer noticed two stolen vehicles out of the city of Grandville that was driving through Grand Rapids. They followed that vehicle and they were able to track it down to a house and they were able to subsequently take four people into custody,” Brunner said.
The suspects were also in possession of stolen credit cards. Since Friday, five more burglaries have happened in Kent County alone.
“In total, could we be looking at eight suspects overall responsible for at least a dozen break-ins around our metropolitan area? We absolutely could,” Brunner said. “Time will tell as our investigators continue to work through this all and collaborate together.”
“We’ve actually had three over the last week I’d say and I know that many other jurisdictions have been dealing with the same thing and we’ve been in close contact with those other agencies,” Cpt. Jacob Sparks with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office said.
Ottawa County sheriff deputies also made arrests after suspects crashed a stolen car.
“They attempted to make a traffic stop on that vehicle and it refused to stop and continued eastbound on the highway before it eventually crashed in the area of Marne there trying to get off the exit,” Sparks said.
The suspects took off running, but were taken into custody. One of the common factors in the string of burglaries is the age of the suspects.
“There were four individuals that were arrested early this morning. There was a 19-year old-adult, two 18-year-old adults and then a 16-year-old juvenile,” Sparks said.
Another common factor: what they are stealing.
“They’re targeting vapes, alcohol, cash, cigarettes, and it’s fair to say that that’s not just for personal consumption, so these products are being taken back to the street, being sold on the street for profit,” Brunner said.
Police believe the suspects are looking for valuable items, or to steal a car to possibly commit other crimes.
Kent and Ottawa county deputies arrested eight total suspects, but say the public needs to always be vigilant.
“This was an aware citizen that was just driving by and saw the suspicious activity and phoned it in right away, so we certainly appreciate that. We would encourage the public to report that anytime they see something that they don’t think fits,” Sparks said.
Deputies urge the public to remove items in cars out of plain view and to always lock car doors.