Neighbors on high alert after string of break ins near Rockford

Posted at 9:19 PM, Jul 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-14 22:19:19-04

KENT COUNTY, Mich. -- A string of break ins in Kent County has some people living in the Rockford area worried.

Police say at least nine different homes were broken into in the Bostwick Lake neighborhood in the area of Belding Road and Ramsdell. Most of the time, the suspect or suspects were breaking into these homes while the owners were home and asleep.

One resident says this isn't a rookie criminal: they unscrewed all of his motion sensor lights and the screws to a screen over a window before climbing in. No one has been caught yet, which is keeping the community on high alert.

"I woke up Monday morning getting ready for work with the back door wide open, that was the first sign," said Brandon Willmer.

Willmer says his home was broken into early Monday morning while he, his wife and two kids were asleep inside.

"They came in through the bathroom window through the house, stole small items, nothing big ticket, but I feel like they cased the house," said Willmer. "They loosened all the motion sensor lights all the way around, four or five different sets of motion sensor lights. That doesn't feel like a rookie thing."

Willmer's home is just one of many. The Kent County Sheriff's Department says nine homes were broken into this week and that doesn't count the attempted break ins.

"When you come in Thursday morning to nine home invasions it kind of sends everyone scrambling," said Sgt. Joel Roon. "Our guys are moving quick."

Willmer's wife had her wallet stolen, losing about 150 dollars cash and credit cards.

"We received an email shortly after to my wife thanking her for her stay at the Luxor in Las Vegas," said Willmer.

Neighbors are also on edge.

"We moved here from Traverse City thinking this is a great, safe area and then all of the sudden it's getting a little jittery," said resident Michael Myers. "Everyone around the lake is feeling the same thing."

"I've been obviously really tense and everything," said Willmer. "Every bump in the night and everything is just high alert for everything and it shouldn't be that way."

It's something that won't go away until the suspect or suspects are caught.

"I have been open carrying my pistol since, which is full within my rights, but it really doesn't matter if you have them if you don't wake up to use them," said WIllmer. "I wouldn't be surprised to come home and just have the whole place cleared out."

The Sheriff's Department says they're upping the number of officers on patrol in the area at night. Their advice for everyone is to lock their doors and windows.

If you have any information about the case you're asked to call Silent Observer at (616)-774-2345.