OUTSIDE DETROIT, MI -- Police in Rochester Hills say they took into custody over the weekend the person responsible for breaking into more than 60 cars in the Rochester area since February.
And as they work to identify many of the recovered GPS units, iPods and other stolen items—and while they further investigate the case—the accused has been released to his parents.
He is 16.
Detective Lt. Ray White from the called the boy a "one-man crime wave" in describing his wrongdoings over the past three months: in addition to the car break-ins the boy has admitted to stealing a car and breaking into a garage, which both can be considered felonies, White said.
Here, according to White, is how the boy's crime spree ended along Livernois Road early Saturday morning.
A stolen truck
At 2:08 a.m. Saturday, a resident of Colony Drive, off Drexelgate Parkway west of Rochester Road, phoned the sheriff's office to report his 2003 Toyota Tundra had been stolen.
The victim had been through this before: over the past few months, he had had a vehicle stolen three times. Each time, the vehicle was taken in the night and returned by morning.
Once, his truck was returned with more gas than it had at the time it was stolen.
In the first theft, the vehicle's keys had been left inside; police said they believe the thief kept the keys, using them to gain access to the truck on future nights.
After hearing this latest report of the stolen vehicle on Saturday morning, deputies stationed themselves near Colony Drive to watch out for the truck to be returned.
At 5:42 a.m., a deputy noticed the truck near its owner's home. The deputy put on his cruiser's lights and followed the truck down Drexelgate Parkway and onto Livernois. The truck pulled over, and when the deputy walked out of the cruiser to approach the driver, a boy jumped out of the truck and, carrying a skateboard, started to run north along the Livernois sidewalk.
The boy fell and deputies caught up with him. They immediately took him into custody.
When deputies searched the truck, they found a computer, several GPS units, iPods and other electronic equipment. The boy admitted stealing the truck three times.
And then he admitted something else: that he had broken into about 60 cars in the Rochester area since February.
"He didn't take things from every one, but he took things from many of them," White said.
"We tell people: don't leave things in plain view in your car and don't leave your cars unlocked. Most of the vehicles he broke into were left unlocked in driveways or lots."
The boy also admitted breaking into one garage, which is considered a home invasion, White said. From the garage, he stole some hockey sticks, which were left in the truck when he eventually returned it that night.
The boy, who lives on Hamlin Road, has been released to his parents pending completion of the investigation and pending a petition charging him with multiple offenses in Probate Court. There is no known connection between the boy and the owner of the truck he took during his crime sprees.
In the meantime, White is working to return many of the recovered items to their owners.
If you were the victim of a car break-in and wonder if any of the items belong to you, call the sheriff's office's auto theft unit at 248-537-3512.