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Tag Archive | "Kent County Sheriff Department"

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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Trufant woman killed in crash


A woman died Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, when the car she lost control of the car she was driving and hit a tree on Meddler, in Spencer Township. Post photo by J. Reed.

A woman died Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, when she lost control of the car she was driving and hit a tree on Meddler, in Spencer Township. Post photo by J. Reed.

A 53-year-old Trufant woman died Thursday morning when she crashed into a tree in Spencer Township.

According to Sgt. Corey Luce, with the Kent County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred shortly before 10:30 a.m. He said that according to a witness who was following, Luanne Crankshaw was headed northbound on Meddler near 20 Mile Road, on a patch of road covered with windblown snow, when she lost control of the 2005 Mazda Tribute she was driving and went off the east side of the road and hit a tree. The impact was on the driver’s side. Neither excessive speed nor alcohol appear to be factors.

No other passengers were in the vehicle.

The crash is still under investigation.

Spencer Township Fire and Rescue, Rockford Ambulance, and the Kent County Road Commission assisted at the scene.

Sgt. Luce said that is the second fatality this year. They had one in January, and one in February. By this time last year, there had already been five fatalities in Kent County. He said they had 24 between July and December, and also assisted other police agencies on two others, for a total of 31 fatalities in 2016.

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Victim in shooting suffered from mental disorder


Jonathan David Sper had been battling a mental disorder for about a decade. Photo from a NAMI page set up in his memory.

Jonathan David Sper had been battling a mental disorder for about a decade. Photo from a NAMI page set up in his memory.

By Judy Reed

The Kent County Sheriff Department and the family of Jonathan David Sper released a joint statement Thursday detailing some of the events that led to Jonathan’s death on Tuesday evening, January 24.

According to the statement, he had been diagnosed with bipolar schizoaffective disorder, and had been trying to rehabilitate himself for the last 10 years.

“We know that Jonathan is in a better place–a place where he no longer has to wrestle with mental illness,” said his family. “Even while dealing with this disorder, he was a great friend to many people. He was a dreamer, full of life, and had a fierce entrepreneurial spirit.”

Jonathan had been in jail for six days, on charges of ordering food and not paying for it, and not identifying himself to a police officer. Records at 61st District Court show his appearances before the judge were canceled several times due to being uncooperative. He finally was sentenced to the six days time served and released on Tuesday, January 24, just hours before the shooting.

Jonathan David Sper. Facebook photo from November 2016.

Jonathan David Sper. Facebook photo from November 2016.

Sper was reportedly dropped off in a manic state at his brother’s home in the 4000 block of Summit Ct, in Algoma Township, about 5 p.m. According to the statement, this is what happened next: “His brother did his best to confine Jonathan and to deescalate the situation with the intent of peacefully removing him from the property. After two hours, and a brief physical altercation, it was obvious that the brother needed assistance from law enforcement, at which point he called 911. The 911 operator was informed of Jonathan’s manic state. When the police arrived, the two brothers were already separated. The officers were again informed of Jonathan’s manic state from his brother. Jonathan was in the garage when the two officers arrived. Upon approaching Jonathan, the officers issued orders that were not followed. A struggle between the officers and Jonathan ensued which ended in Jonathan’s death.”

The Wyoming Police Department is investigating the shooting. It is standard procedure to call in another police department when an officer is involved in a shooting death. They have not released the name of the officer who fired the shots.

The Spers also asked for people to remember the officers involved. “In addition to the thoughts and prayers going out to our family, please keep in mind the officers who were involved in this tragic event. While serving our community and risking their lives every day, members of law enforcement must confront mental illness in its worst form. Although there are already tremendous efforts in this community to provide resources for the mentally ill, the Office of the Sheriff and the Sper family have a desire to advocate for continued improvement in how mentally ill people are handled by the criminal justice system and by community mental health providers so that this tragedy is not repeated. Through this advocacy, we hope to achieve a safer community for everyone, with a safety net for those living with mental illness, enabling them to live their lives in peace.”

The family will hold a memorial service at Ada Bible Church on Knapp St., Saturday, January 28, at 11 a.m. Visitation will be at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, so they can continue to support hundreds of thousands of families, advocate for better resources and tools for mental health providers, and lead awareness activities and events to encourage understanding and prevent situations like this from occurring in the future. A memorial fundraiser has been created for Jonathan Sper and can be found on NAMI’s website http://ifundraise.nami.org/campaign/sper.

 

 

 

 

 

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State police investigate attempted suicide


 

In the early morning of Monday, January 23, 2017, Troopers from MSP-Lakeview were assisting the Ionia County Sheriff’s Department to locate a man who had been in a yard threatening to shoot himself with a rifle in the Belding area. The subject left the scene after police were contacted. However, the investigation led troopers to a possible address in Oakfield Township where they might find him.

After they arrived on scene, troopers saw a man in a vehicle matching the given description. The man got out of the vehicle and troopers attempted to establish communication with him. The man immediately placed a rifle to his head and fired one round. There were no shots fired by responding officers.

After securing the scene, troopers performed first aid until medics arrived on scene. The man was transported by ambulance to Butterworth Hospital with a critical injury. The man, who was identified as the man they were looking for from the previous incident, is not expected to survive.

As of Wednesday, January 25, the police had no new information to pass along on the shooting.

Investigation into the incident is ongoing. Assisting at the scene was MSP-Rockford, Ionia County Sheriff Department, Kent County Sheriff Department, and Rockford Ambulance.

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Greenville man dies in crash


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A Greenville area man died Tuesday when his vehicle hit a tree in Ada Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, they responded to the scene of the crash on Honey Creek Avenue, north of Knapp St., on Tuesday, January 17, at 4:53 p.m. They found that a 59-year-old man driving a black Volvo northbound on Honey Creek lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene from injuries sustained in the crash.

The driver was identified as Patrick Wayne Cardenas, 59, of Eureka Township.

Cannon Township fire and rescue assisted at the scene.

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Break-in at Cedar Chest


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The Kent County Sheriff Department is currently investigating a breaking and entering complaint that occured at The Cedar Chest, 61 N Main Street, Cedar Springs.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, the incident was reported on January 3. The business was closed and locked, and the suspect(s) forced open a locked door. He said a small amount of items were taken from inside.

The Kent County Sheriff Department Scientific Support Unit processed the scene for physical evidence. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Kent County Sheriff Department at (616) 632-6100 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

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Year in Review: Veteran’s memorial stolen and then recovered


The Kent County  Sheriff Department found the stolen monument and arrested suspects in the crime within days of its disappearance. Photo courtesy of the Kent County Sheriff Department.

The Kent County Sheriff Department found the stolen monument and arrested suspects in the crime within days of its disappearance. Photo courtesy of the Kent County Sheriff Department.

By Judy Reed

The monument dedicated to the memory of fallen hero SPC. Timothy Brown was stolen in October from Veterans Park, and suspects in the case were arrested within days by the Kent County Sheriff Department.

The Brown family discovered the monument was missing Saturday, October 22, and called police. Thieves broke the statue, taking the helmet, rifle, and dog tags. Only the boots were left on the memorial stone. The family appealed to the public to have the suspects return the statue, no questions asked, but it did not appear.

The monument dedicated to SPC. Timothy Brown has been repaired and restored to its rightful place in Veterans Park. Post photo by J. Reed.

The monument dedicated to SPC. Timothy Brown has been repaired and restored to its rightful place in Veterans Park. Post photo by J. Reed.

Police suspected the same culprits took the statue as broke into concessions at Skinner Field just a day prior. They posted surveillance footage of the break-in, featuring three young males, and asked media to share the photos. Within days, suspects in the thefts were arrested.

Police found the statue in a shed on the property of Tracy Lyn Coleman, 45, in the 100 block of E. Muskegon, along with several items in the home from the Skinner Field break-in.

Police arrested David Edgar Sommerville, 17, Austin Lee Coleman, 20, and Justin Lynn Rossman, 27, all of Cedar Springs, on Thursday, October 27. All three were charged in the Skinner Field break-in, and Sommerville and Rossman were charged with the monument theft. The older Coleman was arrested the next day on receiving and concealing stolen property. He reportedly admitted to police that he knew the rifle and helmet were stored in his shed, and that he had told one of the defendants to get it out of there. Rossman reportedly told police that Sommerville stole the rifle and helmet and hid them in the storage shed.

“We are proud of the work of our investigators as they worked tirelessly to bring SPC Brown’s Monument back into safe hands,” said the Kent County Sheriff Department in an announcement on their Facebook page.

Once the statue was recovered, DPW Director Tom Stressman had it repaired by a business in Minnesota that specializes in bronze monuments and memorials honoring law enforcement, fire/rescue, and the military.

City Manager Mike Womack said it would cost the city about $500 to have the $10,000 monument repaired, and they would probably seek to recover that cost as part of restitution on the part of the suspects.

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Year in Review: Fatal crashes


The fire spread from the pole barn to an adjacent RV. Photo by J. Reed.

The fire spread from the pole barn to an adjacent RV. Photo by J. Reed.

The Post ran stories on 17 different fatal crashes or accidents that occurred in the greater Cedar Springs area this year, including the one in the photo left, that occurred on Northland Drive at 15 Mile Road, on Tuesday, March 1. According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, a 1963 Ford Fairlane was headed north on Northland Drive about 4:12 p.m. Tuesday, when it crossed the centerline just north of 15 Mile Road, and was struck by a southbound Ford F150 truck.

The driver of the Ford Fairlane, Duane Schwartz, 68, of Sand Lake, and his passenger, Cathy Sutton, 57, of Gaines Township, were both ejected from the car and died of their injuries at the scene. The Ford Fairlane was not equipped with seatbelts. The driver of the truck, a Kentwood woman, was not injured. Slippery roads may have played a part in the crash.

This is just an example of one of the crashes that occurred this year. Please drive safely out there!

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