Two Men in Custody May Be Linked To Nearly 40 Break-Ins In Ottawa County

Posted at 5:24 PM, Aug 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-19 21:30:23-04

ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A lucky break came for those trying to solve an alarming number of break-ins in Ottawa County.

Two men were arrested after investigators say they broke into a Hungry Howie’s off Lake Michigan Drive in Allendale Township.

They are Derek Kraai, 18, of Holland township and Damien Sosa, 19, of Holland Township.

Following their arrest, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office told FOX 17 the men could be responsible for nearly 40 burglaries around Ottawa County and other parts of West Michigan since May.

Many of the crimes were caught on surveillance video.

“That’s a lot and I’m honestly amazed that it went on for so long. That’s a long time,” said Kelsey Johnson, Peppino’s employee.

Johnson’s store near Holland was one of the places that was targeted during the rash of burglaries.

“They broke the window to the door and glass was everywhere and they took the safe,” said Johnson.

The crimes all have a similar feel.

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office says the suspects were taking a hammer, in most instances, and smashing out windows or doors in the businesses. Then, the burglars would grab what they could and run.

Early Monday morning, the Hungry Howie’s in Allendale Township was broken into.

Investigators say a witness saw the broken glass and the two men running and called 911.

Officers, who were on the lookout, noticed a Mitsubishi Eclipse driving erratically.

They pulled the car over near 68th Avenue and I-96.

Inside they found the men who may have been responsible for the rash of break-ins.

“When I got here first thing this morning I noticed the door was all taped up at Hungry Howies,” said Ross DeRuiter, local business owner.

DeRuiter says it’s a relief for business owners that authorities may have finally put a stop to the crime wave.

“It’s frustrating when you’re a hard-working person trying to make a living, and people take your stuff,” said DeRuiter.

“I think it’s good that they got caught. It was long time going and I think it was bound to happen eventually,” said Johnson.

Authorities say they’re looking into whether or not there were more people involved in the crimes other than just the two men who were arrested.