GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A young man linked to illegal guns, stolen cars and racketeering activity involving business break-ins across West Michigan was sentenced this week to a minimum of five years in prison.
The most serious charge against 22-year-old Jerome Maurice Cross Jr., conducting a criminal enterprise, is a 20-year felony, but the maximum term was bumped to 30 years due to Cross’s criminal past.
Kent County Circuit Court Judge Paul Denenfeld sentenced Cross to lesser terms for a weapons conviction involving a handgun and receiving and concealing a stolen Volkswagen. The sentences will all be served at the same time.
Cross is no stranger to the criminal justice system. Juvenile records are sealed, but he has more than a dozen booking photos as an adult for crimes that include felony car theft, breaking and entering, weapons violations and conducting a criminal enterprise.
The latter charge is linked to thefts from a Rent-A-Center in Wyoming and a Family Fare gas station in Byron Township. In that case, a stolen car was driven through the front doors of the gas station store. Six suspects got out of a car and stole cigarettes, investigators said.
Cross and his co-defendants are linked to more than 30 burglaries across metro Grand Rapids as well as a dozen car thefts, according to court records and investigators. Businesses targeted include marijuana dispensaries and liquor stores. The Metro Pattern Crimes Team began investigating the string of crimes in late January.
At the time of his arrest in March, Cross, then 21, had served probation for two felony convictions in Kent County. One was for a 2019 larceny and the other involved a stolen car in 2021.