April 15, 2010Grosse Pointe Farms' downward crime trend is already shot for the year.
Following overall percentage drops in reported crime in recent years, during the first quarter of 2010:
u a Detroit male teenager was arrested for raping an underage Dearborn girl in a Mack Ave. alley,
u a Farms male teenager was arrested for raping an underage Park girl at his parent's house,
u husband and wife career criminals from St. Clair Shores and Royal Oak were arrested for breaking into a house,
u three Detroit males, including a juvenile, were arrested in Huntington Woods for burglary and are accused of three home invasions in the Farms.
Now it seems a new crew of house-breakers has filled the void.
"It's somebody a little more professional," said Farms Lt. Detective Richard Rosati. "They're in and out fast."
The unknown suspects broke into a house on lower Lakeshore despite a burglar alarm. The same group is suspected of breaking into a house on Country Club Lane.
The crew of young males caught in Huntington Woods mainly stole electronics, including hard-to-conceal flat-screen televisions. The new crew steals jewelry.
"The three caught in Huntington Woods had a key taken from one of our houses on Handy Road," Rosati said. "It appeared they had coins in their car taken from a home on Madison."
He suspects them of an attempted B&E on Charlevoix in the Farms and of casing a house on Bishop in Grosse Pointe Park.
Jewelry thefts this month on Lakeshore and Country Club occurred on the same day, police said.
"They're using a crow bar to pry the doors," Rosati said. "There wasn't a crow bar used on the other home invasions."
Both homeowners in the two most recent cases were out of town during the break-ins.
"These victims weren't just not home for the day," Rosati said. "They were gone for a while."
He wonders if the current burglars are targeting houses while in the community for legitimate reasons, such as seasonal work.
"They don't generate interest because they look like they're doing business as usual, but they're really gathering intelligence and targeting houses," Rosati said.
Meanwhile, a jewelry theft reported April 3 on Country Club Lane has been resolved. The homeowner told police last week she located the items in the house.