Commerce Township, West Bloomfield
Police arrest four for Christmas shopping through theft
Published December 18, 2013
In lieu of purchasing gifts, four students from Walled Lake Central were taken into custody Dec. 10 after allegedly going “Christmas shopping,” as they stated to police, by stealing packages from approximately 10 front porches in Commerce Township and West Bloomfield.
The West Bloomfield Police Department was put on alert for the grinch-like thefts at around 4:30 p.m. that day by the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, advising all departments to “be on the lookout” for a silver GMC Yukon, according to West Bloomfield’s Lt. Tim Diamond. While on patrol, officer Derek Kassab located the vehicle based on the license plate and car type on Carlyle Crossing, near Maple and Halstead roads, Diamond said.
After performing a traffic stop, Kassab completed an inventory search of the car, discovering numerous packages, some which were opened, inside the Yukon. Three 17-year-olds and one 16-year-old, whom police identified as all residents in the Walled Lake Consolidated School District area, were placed under arrest, according to police reports.
Items stolen included clothing, boots, ice skates, a Stats Air Hockey game, an Awkward Family Photos game, My Little Pony toys and toys from Toys “R” Us. The items were valued at $500-$1,000.
The four suspects were taken to the station, where they were questioned by detectives. Diamond said they were very cooperative with the investigation and were eventually released pending issuance of a warrant.
“Because things were stolen in West Bloomfield and Commerce Township, our detectives are working with the sheriff’s department to determine where these packages were taken from,” Diamond said. The the departments will send a report to the Prosecutor’s Office.
According to West Bloomfield Detective Dale Young, detectives contacted the U.S. Postal Inspectors, but because the value does not meet the federal value threshold, the suspects will be charged with a type of larceny by the state after a warrant is obtained.
“What we try to do in a case like this is we try to aggregate all of the values. So if there’s 10 houses, instead of charging each house individually, we’ll put them all in a basket and add them all together,” Diamond said.
The three 17-year-olds will eventually be charged as adults, but as the 16-year-old is a juvenile, his case will be forwarded to a different area of the Prosecutor’s Office, Diamond explained.
With the holiday season among us, postal services are likely to see an increase in package deliveries, and there are some tactics that can help ensure a safe package delivery.
“The most obvious answer … is don’t leave stuff on your porch for too long,” Diamond said. “If you’re sending packages, you might want to get a signed receipt when things are delivered.”
Delivery services also allow you to track your packages, and though you may not be home, at least you will have an idea when the package has arrived, he added.
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