GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman who, along with her husband, is accused of breaking into several storage units used her Tractor Supply Co. rewards card at the same time she used a stolen credit card, investigators say.
Ashley and Edward Trout, both 30, were arrested earlier this week and charged Thursday with conducting a criminal enterprise, breaking and entering with intent, possession of a stolen credit card and larceny of a firearm.
The credit card came from a unit at Boxer Storage on Northland Drive near 15 Mile Road, south of Cedar Springs, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by a Kent County Sheriff’s Department detective. The owners of the storage unit called police on Oct. 2 to say they had discovered their gun safe, which contained the cards and several guns, had been stolen.
On Oct. 6, one of the victims called detectives and told them a stolen credit card had been used at a gas station on Northland Drive and the Tractor Supply along 17 Mile in Cedar Springs.
Detectives got surveillance video from the stores, which they say showed Edward and Ashley Trout. The court document says that when using the stolen card at the Tractor Supply, Ashley Trout also used her rewards card. Investigators say that Edward Trout’s truck, as seen in the gas station surveillance video, was seen on surveillance video at the storage unit.
While the court documents focus on the theft from Boxer, the sheriff’s office said the pair is also accused of breaking into a Store Yours Self Storage on Northland Drive near 13 Mile Road north of Rockford, which reported five thefts since late August.
Chris Tripp, who has a unit at Store Yours, told News 8 earlier this week said he has spoken to other unit owners who had been burgled. In one case, he said, the thieves got off with $30,000 in tools and guns. Tripp said the targeted units had locks easily snapped with bolt cutters.
Deputies raided the Trouts’ home near Cedar Springs Tuesday, where they say they found 40 stolen guns — including some from the Boxer victims — and other stolen property worth thousands of dollars. They also found some meth.
Detectives said when they questioned the Trouts, the pair confessed to breaking into at least 15 units in the last three months. They said they sold stolen things online and also admitted to using the stolen credit card, the court document say.
The most serious charge the pair faces is conducting a criminal enterprise, a 20-year felony. Ashley Trout was also charged with possession of meth after allegedly admitting the drugs were hers and Edward Trout with safe breaking.
This is not Edward Trout’s first brush with the law. He has a record of minor offenses dating back at least a decade. Most recently, he was charged this summer after the Michigan Department of Natural Resources accused him of poaching as many as 13 deer and some snapping turtles. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor hunting with a license in September, court records show.
Deputies say they are still working to get stolen property back to where it belongs and find more victims. Anyone with information is asked to call the Kent County Sheriff’s Department at 616.632.6125 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.
Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Eric Brunner touted the investigation as important because it go so many stolen guns — including pistols, rifles and shotguns — off the street.
—News 8’s Susan Samples contributed to this report.