KENT COUNTY, Mich. — (May 2, 2014) The Kent County Sheriff’s Office began investigating a number of gas thefts after reports started pouring in that drivers were finding holes drilled in the gas tanks of trucks around the county.
Court documents indicated that Jeffery Pardee and Marcus Coates soon began to emerge as suspects in the rash of thefts after they were stopped by a police officer and there was evidence in their vehicle.
Detectives put Pardee under surveillance and on March 14, he was caught in the act.
After a search of Pardee’s property and home, officers found $32,000 worth of equipment stolen from an SCX Railroad yard location on freeman street in Grand Rapids.
Family Farm and Home on Plainfield was also a Target.
Detectives said they found $27,000 worth of the store’s lawn tractors, lawn and garden equipment at the residence.
Two of the four in the group also stole the rims and tires off of a Jeep at York Creek Apartments.
Pardee confessed to many of the thefts and also gave the names of his alleged accomplices, Marcus Coates, Thomas Smith and Jessica Bramer.
According to investigators, all admitted to being involved in various crimes.
Bramer said she Coates and Pardee would go out to steal items almost every night during the months of December, January and February.
She told detectives that, “She witnessed them steal utility trailers, generators, gas and diesel fuel.”
Documents go on to state that, “one night she witnessed them steal over 600 gallons of fuel alone from parked semi trucks.”
The detectives also stated that Coates, “admitted his involvement as a lookout for Pardee.”
There were also related thefts reported in Ottawa, Barry and Allegan Counties.