Charges are pending against four Riverside teenagers in connection with a spate of vehicle burglaries in a well-to-do Michigan resort community, Riverside police said Monday. The four reportedly are believed to have been involved in over a dozen car burglaries in Grand Beach, Mich., a village of some 390 homes just north of the Indiana-Michigan border popular with Chicago-area vacationers, including Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, whose family has owned a vacation home in the village for many years.
According to Grand Beach Police Chief Dan Schroeder, charges “are expected at a later date,” but could not pinpoint exactly when those would be handed down.
In the meantime, Riverside police say they are investigating whether the Grand Beach burglaries might be connected to a similar series of car burglaries in their village.
Detective Sgt. John Krull said that between 5-10 burglaries have been committed in Riverside during the summer, “which is a drastic increase for us, but not an epidemic.”
Krull said he believes that perhaps more than one group is responsible for the burglaries, but that all of them follow the same pattern. The cars burglarized have been typically left outdoors overnight, unlocked. The offenders typically take small items easily within reach and don’t do any other damage to the vehicles.
When asked if police believe the Riverside and Grand Beach burglaries might be connected, Krull said, “Yes, we are investigating that they may be connected.”
Riverside police were called to assist in the Michigan investigation after Grand Beach police connected several burglaries to Riverside residents whom they had interviewed during a routine traffic stop shortly after the burglaries were committed, but before they were reported to police.
Riverside Assistant Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said that during the traffic stop, Grand Beach police noticed several electronics products, which the occupants of the vehicle couldn’t account for. Police seized several items as evidence. Later those items were reported stolen.
After victims began reporting burglaries to Grand Beach police, they enlisted the help of Riverside police, who tracked down suspects based on information Grand Beach police obtained in the earlier traffic stop. Riverside police recovered some 20 items from a Riverside home, including cellphones, digital cameras, a camcorder and an iPod, all of which had been reported stolen in Grand Beach.
Since all of the suspects are minors, police are trying to determine where the case will be handled and what charges will be proffered against them.