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Tag Archive | "Kent County Sheriff Department"

Fire in garage spreads to home


This fire spread from the garage to the home within minutes. Post photo by J. Reed.

This fire spread from the garage to the home within minutes. Post photo by J. Reed.

Firefighters were on the scene for four hours Monday at this fire on 17 Mile Rd in Tyrone Township.

Firefighters were on the scene for four hours Monday at this fire on 17 Mile Rd in Tyrone Township.

By Judy Reed

The Kent City/Tyrone Township Fire Department was called to the scene of a garage fire at 720 17 Mile Road, just east of Paine, at 9:42 a.m. Monday, April 25. It was just to the east of the Kent County Sheriff Department’s north substation.

“We arrived on scene at 9:59 a.m., and the fire was already impeding into the roof area of the house,” said Kent City Fire Chief Mike Rexford. He explained that unfortunately, there were no firebreaks between the roof and attic of the garage, and the roof and attic of the home.

Fire departments assisting Kent City at the scene were Sparta, Solon, and Algoma. “They all came with water and manpower,” said Rexford. “During the day we are just not blessed with as many personnel.”

They cleared the scene at 2:10 p.m.

The homeowner George Counts, and his wife, were home at the time and got out safely. No one was injured.

Rexford said that the cause of the blaze was accidental. The owner had discarded ashes out of his pellet stove, into the trash in the garage. He thought that they were no longer hot.

Rexford said firefighters were able to get some things out of the home, and that the retired couple returned the next day and salvaged a few other things. “It will probably be a total loss,” he said of the home. It was insured.

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Police seek info in home invasion


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Police responded to a report of a home invasion in the 13300 block of Larray Lane NE, in Northland Estates, shortly before 1 p.m. on Friday, April 21.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the homeowner returned home and found the front door wide open and it appeared to have been forced. No one was home at the time. It is unknown whether anything was taken.

If anyone has any information, you can call Silent Observer at 616-774-2345 or the Kent County Sheriff Office Detective Bureau at 616-632-6125.

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Locker rooms at Skinner Field vandalized


 

By Judy Reed

Vandals have once again taken aim at Skinner Field, this time vandalizing the outside of the locker room with graffiti.

According to Jerry Gross, a member of Friends of Skinner Field, the damage was discovered Wednesday, March 29. He said it cannot be washed off, and will need to be repainted. No one reported seeing the crime.

“They (the vandals) are defacing public property,” said Gross. “Skinner Field belongs to the City, and we oversee the property and are trying to keep it nice. We would really like to ask for the public’s assistance with that.”

The Skinner Field concession stand and several outbuildings were also broken into last fall. No one reported hearing anything at that time either, though there would’ve been some noise to break open the back door. The suspects were caught after police distributed surveillance footage of them that was taken inside the concession stand.

Why is Skinner Field important?

The short answer is that it is a piece of Cedar Springs history and worth preserving.

Skinner Field was named after J.A. (Bert) Skinner, a leading citizen and businessman. He owned Skinner’s Drug Store, which was located at 43 S. Main Street, the vacant lot where we now hold the Christmas tree lighting. According to the Cedar Springs Story by Sue Harrison and Donna DeJonge, Skinner started work at the age of 13 in a local drug store, and later set a record as the youngest person to pass the state pharmaceutical board. He was given his pharmaceutical license when he turned 18.

Skinner served as village president for 25 years, and was president of the board of education for 25 years. He was a state senator for two terms, and involved in Republican politics all during his life. On Friday, July 6, 1948, the Village of Cedar Springs paid tribute to Bert Skinner, and part of the tribute was the dedication of Cedar Springs Public School’s lighted athletic field, on the west side of Morley Park.

In 1991, a gift was given to the school district, to construct a running track at the field. An agreement signed by both the school and city made it available for both school athletic events and the community to run on. It was created partly on school property and partly on city property, with the school district responsible for maintenance for a period of 99 years, or until they relocated the field and running track, which they did, in the mid-2000s, when they built Red Hawk Stadium. The City later took ownership, but did not have the money to maintain it. The Friends of Skinner Field was formed, and they have renovated the field, which hosts many athletic events, including Rocket football.

If you see or hear anything suspicious at Skinner Field, please contact the Kent County Sheriff Department by calling 911. If you know anything about the vandalism, you may contact non-emergency dispatch at (616) 632-6100 and ask for an officer to take a report.

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Two die in murder-suicide


Gloria Launiere was found dead in her home Monday, after being stabbed by her son. Photo from her Facebook page.

Gloria Launiere was found dead in her home Monday, after being stabbed by her son. Photo from her Facebook page.

The Kent County Sheriff Department responded to a home in Courtland Township Monday and found a woman dead and her son injured.

Police were dispatched to the 9200 block of 14 Mile Road, on Monday, March 20, about 2:24 p.m., after receiving a 9-1-1 call from a third party asking them to do a welfare check. When they arrived, they went inside and found Gloria Launiere, 59, deceased. Soon after they found her son, David Applegate, 34 seriously injured. Both had been stabbed.

Applegate was transported to Butterworth Hospital, where he later died of his injuries.

Police believe that Applegate killed his mother, then stabbed himself.

No other information is being released at this time.

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Teen charged in business break-in


 

N-Sunshine-logoA suspect has been charged in the breaking and entering of a local business earlier this year.

On January 3, the Kent County Sheriff Department responded to a business burglary at the Cedar Chest, located at 61 N. Main Street, in the City of Cedar Springs. An employee contacted the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, after finding the back door damaged and that entry had been gained. KCSD Deputies responded and processed the scene. It was reported that some items had been taken from the store.

Through investigative leads, detectives were able to locate a potential suspect in the case. Additional interviews and searches were conducted leading to 18-year-old Alexander James Hirst being identified as a suspect.

Hirst, a resident of the City of Cedar Springs, was charged by the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office with one charge of breaking and entering, and one charge of safe breaking.

Alexander Hirst is currently in the Newaygo County Jail on unrelated charges and will be transferred to the Kent County Jail upon release.

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Sheriff Department crime stats


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N-Sunshine-logoThe Kent County Sheriff Department has issued their crime statistics for the year for the cities and townships they patrol. Over the last few weeks, we have been sharing some of those statistics. Below are statistics from the last three townships in our area.

Spencer Township: Population: 3,960. Had 535 dispatched calls, 45 traffic stops. The top five dispatched calls were for suspicious conditions/noise/subject (50); assists (47); traffic crash-property damage (37) and alarms (27); domestic argument-no assault (22). The top five criminal offenses were domestic simple assault (19); obstructing justice (12); OUIL or OUID (9); driving law violations (9); non-aggravated assault (8). The highest number of calls occur on Monday, then Saturday; the peak time of day is a tie: 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. The hotspots for service calls are in the areas surrounded by Hemlock and Verlin.

Sparta Township: Population: 9,110. Had 934 dispatched calls, 221 traffic stops. The top five dispatched calls were for assists (110); suspicious condition/noise/subject (93); traffic crash-property damage (71); domestic argument-no assault (60); alarms (41). The top five criminal offenses: domestic simple assault (33); obstructing justice (27); intimidation/stalking (15); damage to property (15); driving law violations (13). The highest number of calls occurs on Sunday, with about 8 p.m. being the peak time for calls. The hotspot for service calls are in the area of Viking and Long Lake Drive; Glen Park; and the area of Alpine, Schultz, and Vinton.

Tyrone Township: Population 6,107. Had 946 dispatched calls, 91 traffic stops.

The top five dispatched calls were for assists (87); suspicious condition/noise/subject (77); traffic crash-property damage (71); domestic argument-no assault (56); domestic assault (36). The top five criminal offenses were domestic simple assault (23); obstructing justice (19); intimidation/stalking (13); violation of controlled substance (8); driving law violations (8). The highest number of calls occurs on Friday, with about 8 p.m. being the peak time of day. The hotspot for calls is in the area surrounding M-37, Main Street, and Ball Creek; and the area of 17 Mile, Daily and Nellie.

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Break-in at Cedar Café


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N-Break-in1By Judy Reed

The Kent County Sheriff Department is investigating a break-in at the Cedar Café, 40 N. Main St, in Cedar Springs.

The break-in occurred on Saturday, March 4. According to owner Lisa Cisler, she had closed up at 3 p.m. and went home. She then got a call from her alarm company at 4:28 p.m. telling her the alarm went off and police were on their way.

According to police, the suspect(s) attempted to enter the building through a window at the rear of the building. Nothing was reported missing.

Cisler said she thinks the alarm may have scared them off. “I had a break-in 10 years ago. That’s what prompted me to get the security system,” she said.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Kent County Sheriff Department at (616) 632-6100 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

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Sheriff Department crime stats


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The Kent County Sheriff Department has issued their crime statistics for the year for the cities and townships they patrol.  Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some of those statistics. Below are some statistics from three of the cities/townships in our area.

Algoma Township: Population: 9,932. Had 1,493 dispatched calls, 320 traffic stops. The top five dispatched calls were for broadcast to area police (832); suspicious conditions/noise/subject (193); assists (189); traffic crash-property damage (180) and alarms (160). The top five criminal offenses were obstructing justice (29); domestic simple assault (25); intimidation/stalking (25); driving law violations (23); OUIL or OUID (20). The highest number of calls occur on Friday; the peak time of day is 5 p.m. The hotspots for service calls are areas of US131.

Courtland Township: Population: 7,678. Had 829 dispatched calls, 143 traffic stops. The top five dispatched calls were for suspicious condition/noise/subject (104); assists (93); traffic crash-property damage (65); alarms (60); broadcasts (38).  The top five criminal offenses: domestic simple assault (16); obstructing justice (16); intimidation/stalking (14); damage to property (10); driving law violations (10). The highest number of calls occurs on Monday, with 9 p.m. being the peak time for calls. The hotspot for service calls is in the area around Peninsula, Eva, Orun and 11 Mile Rd.

Oakfield Township: Population 5,782. Had 707 dispatched calls, 91 traffic stops.

The top five dispatched calls were for assists (72); suspicious condition/noise/subject (62); alarms (48); domestic argument-no assault (45); traffic crash-property damage (39). The top five criminal offenses were domestic simple assault (17); violation of controlled substance (14); OUIL or OUID (10); intimidation/stalking (9). The highest number of calls occurs on Saturday, with 4-5 p.m. being the peak time of day. The hotspot for calls is in the area surrounding 14 Mile, Old 14 Mile and Lincoln Lake.

Next week we’ll review Spencer, Sparta, and Tyrone Townships.

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Renters and sellers beware of scammers 


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By Judy Reed

If you are trying to sell your home, don’t be surprised if someone comes knocking at your door and asks if it’s for rent. Or, if you’ve already moved out and are still trying to sell it, you might come by to find someone living there. That’s because scammers are stealing house for sale listings and putting them up on Craigslist as rentals.

Local realtor Brynadette Powell, with Arthur K. Eggerding Realty, said this happened to a home she had listed recently on Hoskins. “The lady of the house was home sick, and she had four people come to the door in two days asking if it was for rent,” she explained. She said the next day she was in a broker class and received three messages saying the home was listed on Craigslist to rent for $1200 a month.

“I sent the info to Craigslist and they took it down in about two hours,” said Powell.

Powell said she emailed the poster of the ad, pretending she was interested. She asked who they were, and they emailed back a form letter saying that they had recently settled in Nigeria, and sent her an application. She was told to send them the first month’s rent and a security deposit and she could move in.

Powell said that sometimes the listers tell people that they moved and forgot to leave a key, and that they can just break in.

“I also just recently had a buyer for another agent’s house, and that listing was also hijacked. There were people trying to break into the house because they thought they had a lease,” she explained.

Powell said that one agent she knows called the police about it. “The agent was told that the people who sent the money had a crime against them, but not the owners,” she said.

It’s possible that people get embarrassed and don’t want to report it, however, or they don’t realize they can. According to the fraud division at the Kent County Sheriff Department, there haven’t been any reports in our area recently, but they are aware of the problem, because it has been around awhile.

Powell said she now tries to avert this type of problem by putting a sign on the door that says, “This house is not for rent.”

Powell said part of the problem is that there are not enough rentals out there to meet demand, especially in Cedar Springs. “Cedar Springs is amazing in regards to people sticking around. There just aren’t enough rentals out there,” she explained.

Phil Catlett, of the Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan, is also aware of the problem. “Scammers look on Craig’s List, or M-Live, or a Real Estate website, and find homes for sale. The scammer creates an ad listing the property for rent. Every year we learn of someone getting ripped off this way,” he said.

Catlett supplied the following info from the BBB:

Researchers reviewed more than 2 million for-rent posts and found 29,000 fake listings in 20 major cities. Of those, there were three key types of scams. In the first, a fake post instructs a would-be tenant to purchase a credit report. The scammer gets a commission from the credit reporting site, even though there is no property for rent.

In another scheme, con artists duplicate rental listings from other sites and post on Craigslist at a lower price. Prospective renters pay a deposit via wire transfer. Another pervasive scam is “realtor service” companies. Targets are asked to pay fees to access listings of pre-foreclosure rentals or rent-to-own properties. In the majority of cases, the companies leading the scams have no connection to the properties listed.

How to Spot a Rental Scam:

  • Don’t wire money or use a prepaid debit card: You should never pay a security deposit or first month’s rent by prepaid debit card or wire transfer. These payments are the same as sending cash – once you send it, you have no way to get it back.
  • Watch out for deals that sound too good: Scammers lure in targets by promising low rents, great amenities and other perks. If the price seems much better than offered elsewhere, it may be a scam.
  • See the property in person: Don’t send money to someone you’ve never met for an apartment you haven’t seen. If you can’t visit an apartment or house yourself, ask someone you trust to go and confirm that it is what was advertised.
  • Don’t fall for the overseas landlord story: Scammers often claim to be out of the country and instruct targets to send money overseas.
  • Search for the same ad in other cities: Search for the listing online. If you find the same ad listed in other cities, that’s a huge red flag.

For More Information

Read the full report from New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering on rental scams on Craigslist. The report is the first systematic study of online rental scams. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/renter-beware-study-finds-craigslist-catches-barely-half-of-scam-rental-listings-300228037.html.

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Newaygo woman dies in crash


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A Newaygo woman was killed last week when she failed to stop at a stop sign and was hit by another car.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred about 7:33 p.m. in Sparta Township. Deborah Dexter, 65, of the City of Newaygo, was driving a 2005 Jeep Cherokee east on 15 Mile, just west of Fruit Ridge, when she failed to stop at the stop sign at the intersection and was struck by a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado that was traveling south on Fruit Ridge.

Dexter was pronounced dead at the scene. A toddler in the Jeep, Arabella Milligan, age 2, of Kent City, suffered facial lacerations and was transported to Spectrum Butterworth by Rockford Ambulance.

The driver of the Silverado, Andrew Duffy, 22, of Sparta Township, had facial lacerations, but was not transported to the hospital.

Assisting at the scene was the Sparta Fire Department, Kent City Fire Department, Rockford Ambulance, and Michigan State Police.

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