Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Police investigate theft, break-ins

A Michigan State Police trooper is investigating whether a 24-year-old Pinckney man, arrested in connection to the theft of a bow and arrow, is also responsible for multiple break-ins that have occurred recently in Livingston County.

A Michigan State Police sergeant at the Brighton post said Tuesday that Trooper Rene Gonzalez, who is investigating, found the stolen bow and arrow at a local pawnshop.
Other recovered items, including tools, stolen from multiple break-ins have been linked to the suspect, police said.

Police said Gonzalez was dispatched Jan. 20 to the victim's home in the 4800 block of Bentley Lake Road in Marion Township for a report of a stolen bow and arrow valued at $500.
Additional details, including whether the suspect made statements to police, were not immediately available due to the ongoing investigation.

Officers from the Pinckney Police Department assisted the state police.

Holland sees three break-ins in 24 hours

January 26, 2010 5:10 PM

HOLLAND, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Police in Holland say they are investigating three separate break-ins that took place in less than 24 hours.

The first report came in Monday when someone broke into a home on East 17th Street and took off with a Playstation and some games.

After clearing the scene, police went to another home on an unrelated matter, and found the stolen materials. They arrested a 20-year-old suspect.

The second incident was reported a few hours later on Hunter's Run. The resident there came home to find they were missing a computer, gaming station, and other items. The suspect in that case has not been located.

The third break-in was reported Tuesday morning on East 15th Street in which a bag of soda cans was taken from a back porch. A 44-year-old male was arrested in that incident.

Despite the arrests police say they are still investigating and are asking anyone with information to contact Silent Observer.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rings, laptop stolen from Flint home after items were listed on eBay

By Laura Angus Flint Journal
January 26, 2010, 7:35AMFLINT, Michigan — A woman reported 150 rings and a laptop computer were stolen from her Campbell Street home between 6:20 p.m. Friday and 1 a.m. Saturday.The rings are valued at $3,600, according to police reports.There were no signs of forced entry, but the second floor of the home was ransacked, according to the report. The woman told police she had just listed the items on eBay and suspected the break in had something to do with that, according to the report.

Elderly woman sleeps as two men break in to her Flint home

By Laura Angus Flint Journal
January 26, 2010, 7:46AMFLINT, Michigan — An elderly, hearing impaired woman slept as two men forced their way into her home around 10:30 p.m. Sunday near Lynch Street and Missouri Avenue.A witness told police two men were found inside but were scared away, according to police reports. The suspects were last seen driving east on Illinois Avenue in a late-1990s model four door car.A window and front storm door were broken out and the front door was left open in the woman's home, according to the report.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Two men arrested in connection with series of daytime break-ins in Jackson area

By Danielle Quisenberry Jackson Citizen P...
January 12, 2010, 10:05AM
Two Jackson County men accused of breaking into houses around the county could face multiple charges.
The men, both 27, were stopped in Jackson Monday and arrested shortly after a home invasion on Saines Manor Drive in Blackman Township, according to a sheriff’s office news release.
They are accused of breaking into homes during the day when people are not home by pushing open doors and taking items such as jewelry, cash and guns. To check to see if anyone was at a residence, the two would knock on the door.
If someone answered the door, they would say they were looking for a lost dog and leave, according to the release.
Undersheriff Tom Finco said the break-ins have been likely occurring for at least two months.
Police recovered property from at least three home invasions, Finco said. “I suspect there will be a lot more.”
Detectives got warrants and searched the men’s homes Monday night. They found some jewelry, which has not yet been identified, according to the release.
Detectives also recovered a firearm taken last week from a home on Kibby Road.
The men were taken to the Jackson County Jail. The prosecutor’s office is to review the case.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Alert homeowner foils break-in attempt

January 08, 2010 6:35 PM

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Police are searching for a person they believe may have been involved in a string of burglaries in a Grand Rapids neighborhood.

Currently, Grand Rapids Police are investigating dozens of break-ins that took place at homes in the area of Burton and Eastern on the southeast side of Grand Rapids.

Police say an alert homeowner recently helped prevent a break-in not far from that neighborhood, helping put Jacquil Baber-Bey in the Kent County jail. Police say Baber-Bey is one of four high-schoolers who was not in class on Wednesday, but instead out trying to break into homes.

That homeowner, who asked to be identified only by her first name, talked to Newschannel 3 on Friday.

"Doorbell rang, and happened to be real close to the front door," said Heidi.

When she answered the door, Heidi says the teenager there didn't ask for her, but gave the name of his counselor, Sarah.

"Being in the health field, I do not know anyone who has their clients come to their house," said Heidi.

Heidi says she told the teen to go ask a neighbor on Okemos Drive SE, then she looked out her back window.

"There were three more kids waiting back by that fence," said Heidi.

Heidi saw a total of four teens, and she believed that they were planning a break-in. A call to 911 brought Grand Rapids Police, who arrested two of the youths.

"Her instincts were absolutely right," said Lt. Ralph Mason of the Grand Rapids Police Department. "Young people, should have been in school, instead they were skipping school and out getting into trouble."

Police say the two they arrested are high school students at Creston. Baber-Bey is 18, and now faces two home invasion charges.

Investigators credit Heidi for her help, but say that anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation should be even more cautious.

"In the future, probably don't even open the door, talk through the window," said Officer Jon Kraczon.

"I just called 911 because I figured by the time I looked things up in the phone-book I wouldn't have them in my view anymore," said Heidi.

The second suspect arrested is fourteen years old and being held at the Kent County Juvenile facility. Police are still trying to identify the two other youths involved.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ann Arbor area crime victims turn to craigslist for help solving cases

Jake Brinks wanted someone arrested after he was severely beaten outside an Ann Arbor home in a case of mistaken identity. Amy Downey wanted the thief who grabbed the Christmas gifts off the porch of her Ypsilanti Township home to return them. And Stu Collins wanted to find the puppy stolen from his Ypsilanti Township pet store. They are among dozens of crime victims in Ann Arbor and across Michigan who have recently posted advertisements on the popular Web site seeking help from the public on their cases.
They haven’t had success so far, but the free classified ads have provided more exposure to the unsolved crimes, an outlet to vent frustration and new hope. All three victims turned to craigslist after filing reports with police.
Ads across the state have included descriptions of suspects, names of witnesses, reward information and telephone numbers to call with tips. More than 20 such ads have been posted in the site's community section in the Ann Arbor and metro Detroit areas during the past month. The majority are for stolen pets or property.
“I’m just trying to figure out some way to find out who did it and to get them," said Brinks, whose jaw was broken when three men assaulted him Aug. 15 outside a Main Street home. Brinks, frustrated at the pace of the police investigation, posted an ad detailing the incident, mentioning names of two people he claims instigated the attack.“Hopefully, somebody will stumble across it that has some information from that night that I can pass on to the police department," he said.Ann Arbor police Lt. Mark St. Amour, who heads the department’s detective division, which is investigating Brinks’ case, wasn’t aware of the ad.St. Amour said he generally doesn’t see harm in victims posting ads, especially when a case “goes somewhat cold.”“This is just another venue where people can get the word out on what happened and possibly get a witness to come forward,” St. Amour said.Brinks, who is a project manager for a web development company, has been using craigslist for two years to view employment ads and look for clients.He posted the ad, “Assaulted and need some help…(Ann Arbor)” in the site's community section on Nov. 10.“Hello everyone…..I need some help,” the ad says. “On August 15th 2009 I was brutally assaulted by three males. I ended up in the hospital with my jaw broken in two places…the doctors claim a few more blows to the head could have killed me.”Brinks was attacked about 2 a.m. on a porch, shortly after arriving at a party. His attackers were among a group of men looking to settle a dispute from earlier in the night. Police say the dispute had nothing to do with Brinks.Brinks, who also suffered a cut over his eye that required numerous stitches, has no health insurance and is facing roughly $40,000 in medical bills.“If you have any information that would help to lead to the arrest of the assailants PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE e-mail me,” the ad says. “Let’s not find out what happens to the next victim of this foolishness. We need to put a stop to this ignorance.”Amy Downey, a mother of four young children, posted an ad after Christmas gifts donated through a church group were stolen from her porch. The gifts were valued at $300.Four bags containing clothing, toys and gift certificates were dropped off at her Roxbury Drive home on Christmas Eve while Downey was out of town visiting family.
She was hoping the ad would prompt someone responsible or a witness to come forward.“I thought I could post it and maybe embarrass the people that stole it,” she said. “I called the police and was done with that. I didn’t know what else I could do.”Downey posted her ad “Stolen: Christmas gifts for my family (Ypsi Twp)” in the site's community section on Christmas night."For the person who took it, knowing that the items inside were toys and kids clothes, as well as gift certificates for us to enjoy….shame on you," the ad says. "...My kids have resorted to saying we were visited by the grinch."Downey, who works part-time as a teaching assistant, said she's been using craigslist for a year. She has recently been looking for a place to live because her house is being foreclosed on.Thankfully, she said, other church groups pitched in to make Christmas special for her children.
“It’s been a rough year for us,” she said. “Who is gonna take toys from kids on Christmas Eve?”
Derrick Jackson, director of community engagement for the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department, which is investigating the theft, said some ads can be helpful.
But Jackson questioned others, including the ad "Searching for a criminal (Redford)" posted in the site's community section in the metro Detroit area Dec. 11.
A victim of a car break-in wrote that someone stole a laptop, camera, GPS unit and other items and left in a light gray work van.
"Offering a reward that will lead me to my laptop or the thief," the ad says. "Police do not need to be involved, I will handle it from there."
Jackson said, "Providing information for citizens to keep themselves safe is one thing, but encouraging citizens to make arrests and get involved could be dangerous."Stu Collins, owner of Pet City Pets on Ecorse Road, posted an ad Oct. 26 - the day three people visited his store and stole a 14-week-old Australian Shepherd.His ad included a description of those involved, details about their car, license plate information and his contact information.“Pup is very friendly but probably scared,” the ad says. “…we hate to think of how such low-lifes would take care of a dog.”Collins has been using craigslist for four years, including to buy and sell cars. It was the second time in less than a year he posted an ad on craigslist for a stolen puppy without success.
He said he's concerned for the welfare of the pup.“Somebody who’s gonna steal a puppy is probably not gonna be a good owner,” he said. “What kind of morals do they have? It’s like stealing a Bible or something."Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for Reach him at (734) 623-2527 or by e-mail at

A few current craigslist ads from across the state:• Searching for a criminal (Redford)
snowmobile stolen (Goodells)
Statue stolen (Flint)
Stolen 1985 GT Mach One custom (Kalamazoo)
Reward For Stolen Burton Dominant - $200 (Boyne Highlands)
Stolen 91 GMC Suburban (Redford/Detroit)
Reward!!!! My 3 Dogs Were Stolen!! (Taylor)
Stolen Christmas Decorations (Fraser: Garfield between 14 & 15 mile)
Stolen truck (Detroit)

Arrest made in home break-ins

January 09, 2010 12:03 PM

Van Buren County Sheriff's Dept arrested a 24 year old Bloomingdale man late Friday afternoon in Bangor Township. Police were on patrol when flagged down by a victim in the 38000 block of CR 681 about his home being broken into.
Witnesses were able to give police partial description of suspect and vehicle. Bangor city officers located suspect's vehicle and attempted to stop it. The suspect failed to stop leading officers on a chase for 2 to 3 miles. The suspect vehicle got stuck in the snow at an apple orchard 100 yards off the road. Michigan State police K-9 unit and Van Buren County Sheriff's deputies assisted in the chase.
The suspect had meth on him and was apprehended without further incident. Police discovered stolen guns, mail, and miscellaneous items and through their further investigation discovered the suspect had broken into homes both in Allegan and Van Buren counties.
The suspect was arrested for breaking and entering residence, fleeing and eluding police, possesion of firearms by a convicted felon, carrying a concealed weapon, operating a vehicle under the influence of narcotics, larceny of mail, and possesion of methampethamine.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Top 10 Security & Safety Tips for 2010

STAYING SAFE — “America’s Crime Prevention Column”
Bruce Mandelblit
As I kick off my ninth year of writing “Staying Safe” columns, I think it’s a great time to think about your safety and security for the New Year. It’s common today to hear about all the new high-tech wonder gadgets that will make our lives safer and more secure in the future. Everything from biometrics, digital CCTV to smart cards will have a role to play in our personal security.
However, here are 10 simple and easy to implement ideas, suggested by some security and safety folks, that may help make your life safer starting right now.
1. If possible, don’t jog, walk or drive alone — especially at night and in less-populated areas.
Simply put: There is usually enhanced safety in numbers.
2. Properly lock your home — including closing your garage door — even when you are at home. I can’t tell you the number of times I have been dispatched to an incident where valuables (tools, lawnmowers, bikes, toys, etc.) have been taken from an open garage, even when the victim was at home.
Simply put: Install and use good home locks and secure your garage.
3. Take the time to record the serial numbers of all your valuables. Also, you may want to consider marking certain items with your state driver’s license number. You may also want to consider video taping the contents of your home.
Quick security tip: Do not mark any items with your social security number as law enforcement may not be able to obtain your identity from the Social Security Administration due to their privacy policies.
4. Please be sure to listen to that “little voice” inside of all of us. Be aware of your surroundings (law enforcement folks call this “situational awareness”) and look for any suspicious persons and activities.
Simply put: Trust your instincts.
5. Don’t carry around large amounts of cash or wear glittery valuables. Also, if you need to use an ATM, go to a busy, well-lit location and only withdraw the amount of cash you really need.
Simply put: Don’t flash your cash and valuables.
6. Park your vehicle in well-lit, populated areas. Don’t leave your key in the ignition and properly secure your vehicle (i.e. close your windows and lock the doors) when you park. Also, don’t leave any valuables in plain sight.
Simply put: Don’t make your vehicle a personal invitation to a potential lawbreaker.
7. Get to know your neighbors. In setting-up neighborhood watch programs, it is often said that a so-called “nosy neighbor” is the best home break-in crime fighting device available.
Simply put: Your trusted neighbor may be your first line of defense against criminal activity in your home.
8. Consider carrying a mobile phone — especially if you are going somewhere alone. Also, you may want to tell a family member or a close friend of your travel plans in case of an emergency.
Quick security tip: A mobile phone will not only be useful as a possible crime prevention tool, but also in case of other types of emergencies.
9. Consider installing a high-quality security system — both in your home and vehicle.
Simply put: It’s better to scare criminals away before they enter your home rather than to encounter them inside.
10. If you do observe any suspicious persons or activities — call your local police immediately.
Simply put: It’s better to call law enforcement to report a suspicious person or incident rather than to wait until an actual crime is committed.
A final word: Use your common sense. Be and act smart.
For more information on security and safety tips, contact your local law police department’s crime prevention officer.
My Final Thoughts: Don’t rely solely on the much touted high-tech security devices for your personal safety. As you can see, these simple “no-brainer” tips mentioned above may be powerful crime prevention ideas for both you and your family, if and only if, you take the responsibility to properly use them.