Teenage suspects in phone-store theft(s) formally charged

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UPDATE – 5 p.m. Friday: The Kent County 63rd District Court says 17-year-old suspects Malique Caston and Calmauree Liptrot both were arraigned Friday afternoon on the same charge, with the same bond amounts set:

  • Retail Fraud, 1st Degree Conspiracy.
  • Bond: $30,000 cash or surety

The teenagers’ probable cause hearing is scheduled for 10:45 a.m. in Judge Sara Smolenski’s courtroom.

————

SPARTA, Mich. — Authorities say three teenagers arrested Wednesday in connection with larceny at a Sparta phone store could be responsible for dozens of other recent phone thefts in Kent County.

The suspects were taken into custody Wednesday evening after several phones were stolen from the Sprint store on S. State Street.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office says that after the thefts, the suspects fled into a nearby wooded area. All three of them were eventually taken into custody after the sheriff’s office and Michigan State Police searched the area with a helicopter and police dogs.

The sheriff’s office said Thursday that the three suspects are part of a group believed to be responsible for 29 cell phone theft complaints across the county since April 1.  There are as many as six total suspects involved in the case and the thefts remain under investigation, officials said.

The suspects are currently being held on charges of conspiracy to commit retail fraud.  The sheriff’s office identified two of the suspects as Malique Caston and Calmauree Liptrot, both 17 years old.  They are being charged as adults while the third suspect, a 16-year-old from Grand Rapids, is being charged as a juvenile.

All three are expected to be arraigned Friday.

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