Teenagers possibly experiencing end of summer anxiety might be to blame for a mini-crime spree in Ottawa County’s west end, says Sheriff Bob Bratton.
Over the past week and a half, there have been more than a dozen vandalism and theft reports filed by Allen Township residents. The offenses range from vandals using pipes to dent cars, tossing patio furniture and other items into pools and ponds as well as spray painting houses and wiping human feces across the front door of a home.
“We have a lot of kids out in that area at night – up there walking around,” said Bratton, who lives in nearby Genoa. “It’s starting to escalate for some reason.”
Deputies aren’t single-minded though. They are open to a myriad of possibilities.
“About a year ago, there were reports of kids saying there was some gang activity moving in out there. You just never know,” Bratton added.
The road patrol deputies are on high alert as is the sheriff. He collected the names of victims and spent Wednesday going door-to-door to talk to people.
One Honeysuckle Lane resident hadn’t been victimized. However, he was concerned about finding a couple of sets of footprints on the dew-covered lawn that led to the back of house, the sheriff said. “If these kids are moving behind the houses we are going to have to change the way we patrol.”
The effort will involve residents’ assistance. The fact that Allen Township has a strong Neighborhood Watch will help the cause, Bratton said. “Allen Township Block Watch is a group of good people. They’re aggressive and alert. By aggressive I mean they are willing to make calls. They’re willing to get involved.”
There are also a number of residents who leave for work in the early morning hours. The sheriff’s office will try to enlist them to be more alert about suspicious activity, especially groups of kids traveling around.
“There is really no reason for them to be out at 2 or 3 in the morning,” the sheriff said.
Here is a breakdown of recent events as provided by sheriff’s office records clerk Rhonda St. Clair:
• Aug. 19 - 22000 block of W. Red Clover Lane. Someone removed or damaged three Cadillac symbols on a vehicle. Owner noticed damage Aug. 9 but did not report until he heard about rash of vandalism in area.
• Aug. 17 – 6700 block of North Genoa-Clay Center Road. Deputy finds white mailbox laying in yard. It was dented and broken off at base.
• Aug. 16 – 22100 block of Honeysuckle Lane. Two large dents found on vehicle where it had been struck with metal pipe. The pipe was left on ground.
• Aug. 16 – 22400 block of Bittersweet Lane. Two chairs and a warning sign were tossed into a pond. Also, a mailbox from the 6300 block of Wildacre Road was found in yard.
• Aug. 16 – 6500 block of Genoa-Clay Center Road. Owner found a tire slashed on a car and a motor home on the property. The tires cost about $175 each.
• Aug. 16 - 6700 block of Wildacre Lane. A political sign was taken from a yard and tossed into a nearby bean field.
• Aug. 16 – 6400 block of North Genoa-Clay Center Road. Two tires found slashed on driver’s side of car parked on property.
• Aug. 16 – 22000 block of West Curtice East-West Road. Vandalism reported but no details available.
• Aug. 16 – 22000 block of Red Clover Lane. Toilet paper in trees and landscaping, stone from landscaping spread across driveway, obscenity spelled out in cardboard on lawn, human feces on door and garbage spread across yard.
• Aug. 10 – 22000 block of Honeysuckle Lane. Solar lights thrown into pool, fence knocked down and trash dumped on lawn.
• Aug. 10 – 22000 block of Red Clover Lane. A “For Sale” and Rich Iott political sign pulled from lawn. Political sign was destroyed.
• Aug. 10 – 22000 block of Red Clover Lane. A 5-gallon bucket filled with $250 worth of tools was missing from garage. Owner told deputies a suspicious person had been in the area about five days earlier, attempting to discuss home security system sales.
• Aug. 10 – 22000 block of Red Clover Lane. Owner reported a toolbox containing $1,000 worth of tools, including Craftsman and Snap-On items, was taken from his garage. He also reported a person visiting his home to speak about home alarm systems.
• Aug. 6 – 6700 block Wildacre Road. Political sign for Rich Iott removed from lawn and tossed into field to the west of property. Owner put sign back up and found it missing in the morning again.