WAYLAND, Mich. – Neighbors in a Wayland community have been on edge lately after a series of car thefts and break-ins in the area.
In a four-day span, Michigan State Police received six reports of car thefts.
MSP Detective Matthew Doan said, “During that time period we have handled probably a dozen car larcenies where people have broken into a car and stolen things out of the car.”
He says the thefts have a common thread, all cars were unlocked and the stolen cars had the keys left inside.
One victim told us her car was stolen from in front of her house on Church Street at 4:30 in the afternoon on Sunday.
She was in the house eating with her family and watched her maroon Ford Taurus drive past her window.
“I went running after my car when I saw it speeding off down the road,” said the victim.
She said the car stopped a few houses down so another man could get in the passenger seat.
Police said cars were reported stolen at all times of the day from driveways, streets, even the City Park in Wayland.
Detective Doan said, “In one instance a car was stolen in town, driven outside of town where it broke down. And there was another stolen in close proximity to that one. And then a call in Moline (Township), where another was stolen.”
All six of the stolen vehicles have since been recovered. The victim we spoke with said her Ford Taurus was found in Wyoming, MI, just like she left it.
“With the keys in it and the window down,” she said.
Police said they have a person in custody who meets the profile.
“We developed a suspect, a possible suspect and we ended up arresting him on some other charges not related to the ones of the stolen vehicles,” said Sgt. Doan.
The person in custody had just been released from prison after serving time for stealing cars, according to the detective.
Victims we spoke with along Church Street, Park Street and Aster Street in Wayland said this is a wake-up call for those who think they are safe from crime in their community.
Police said it can sometimes be as simple as keeping things locked up and out of sight.