GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kent County Sheriff’s Department is reminding people to lock their cars and secure their guns after the latest round of break-ins.
Early Thursday morning, the sheriff’s office said deputies responded after two vehicles were reported stolen, as well as a gun, which was in one of the cars.
“The stolen vehicles continue to be a problem for us,” said Chuck DeWitt, Kent County Undersheriff.
DeWitt said it’s happening in areas such as Grand Rapids, Ada, and Byron, Gaines and Cascade townships.
“We stress with the public that they need to remove their keys from the cars when parking. Sometimes someone forgets, other times it’s intentional,” he said. “Either way, they become easy targets for the car to be stolen.”
More recently, multiple guns have been stolen from cars that were found unlocked, according to the Sheriff’s office. DeWitt said it’s younger people who are responsible for these crimes.
“If you are carrying your firearm in your car, you need to remove it,” he said. “Typically, juveniles are involved with these crimes. They don’t often have drivers’ licenses, therefore whenever they’re driving, they’re a danger to the community. But add to that, the layer of a stolen firearm now in their possession, and it becomes that much more dangerous.”
News 8 also spoke to Dean Craig, a defensive firearm instructor with Got CPL? Defensive Firearm Training. He talked about what people who have a concealed pistol license should know.
“If it comes off your body for any reason … It should be stored in a way that no other person without your permission and the training can have access to it,” Craig explained. “The fact is, we have guns, they are all over the place. We don’t want the guns in the hands of people who aren’t allowed, or legally able have them, especially people who aren’t trained.”
The undersheriff also said it’s not just certain brands like Kias and Hyundais that are being targeted — any car that is unlocked that could become a target.
“Some may think, well this is just a continuation of the Kia/Hyundai problem that we’ve talked about frequently,” said DeWitt. “However, the current trend is vehicles other than Kias and Hyundais are now the focus of the targets.”