GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Police Department has responded to more than 60 car dealership and cell phone store break-ins since June, and investigators believe the stolen cars are being used in drive-by shootings and other crimes.
The same group of about 20 juveniles and a handful of young adults is involved, according to a Wednesday update on the investigation.
More than 50 cars have been stolen from dealerships, vehicle rental centers and auto repair shops, with the hardest-hit businesses being along the 28th Street and Leonard Street corridors.
Businesses in nearby Wyoming, Kentwood and other local jurisdictions have also been hit.
Most the incidents have in the early morning hours between 1 and 5 a.m.
“These offenders are brazen and should be considered dangerous,” GRPD Sergeant James Wojczynski, who added that reckless driving with the stolen vehicles also poses a threat to the public.
Officers face challenges prosecuting these crimes because most of the arrests have involved juveniles.
“This is where the community can play a role in helping us prevent these crimes,” Wojczynski said. “We need residents to report any suspicious activity around these types of businesses by calling 911 immediately. There is a certain level of responsibility that we all need to assume if we want to prevent and/or solve these crimes – we all need to do our part.”
GRPD also asks dealerships, rental car companies and auto repair shops to take extra safety precautions.
Officers continue to patrol areas around car dealerships throughout the city.
Anyone with information about any of these crimes may contact GRPD at 616-456-3380 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.