Police: 19 cars stolen in Kent County in the last week

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Nineteen vehicles have been stolen in Kent County over the last week, the majority of them in Grand Rapids.

It’s part of a continuing trend of more such thefts in the area, along with related crimes like driving recklessly to avoid arrest — though police say they avoid high-speed chases because of the risk they pose to bystanders — or using a stolen car in another crime.

During a recent operation by the Grand Rapids Police Department, police were able to recover two stolen vehicles and make four arrests related to car thefts. The vehicles were recovered using a Michigan State Police helicopter, an option police say is only available for specific operations.

GRPD and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department are reminding people to keep cars locked and secure.

“These are crimes of opportunity,” GRPD Sgt. Jim Wojczynski said in a Friday release. “These thieves are looking for unlocked vehicles and those left running. It might be just a few minutes, but that is plenty of time for criminals to strike. Making a habit of locking your car and taking your keys is a very effective way for everyone to help prevent auto theft.”

Anyone with information about the thefts or where a stolen vehicle may be is asked to call GRPD investigators at 616.456.3380, or anonymously by contacting Silent Observer at 616.774.2345 or at silentobserver.org.