Keeping Lowell Safe: Police Beat for August 2019

In August 2019, the Lowell Police Department received 235 calls for service. These included the following, among others:

  • 21 traffic accidents, including four with injuries
  • 20 calls for assistance to other agencies
  • 13 larcenies/retail fraud
  • 5 ordinance violations
  • 3 drug law violations

August was notable for having no drunk driving cases within the city limits although alcohol did play a factor in other police calls during the month.

Here’s more about the August 2019 police cases.

Open Alcohol on the Riverwalk

The Lowell Police Department increased its foot patrols along the Riverwalk in response to an increase in complaints of alcohol consumption in the area. Overall, there were 11 alcohol offenses recorded during August including minors in possession of alcohol, among other charges.

Assist on Injury Car Accident

The Kent County Sherriff’s Office asked Lowell police to assist with an automobile accident in which it was thought a passenger may have been ejected into the woods. The call came in at 3:25am and after a thorough search, no one was found. When the driver was able to communicate with officers, it was learned she was the sole occupant in the vehicle.

Suspicious Behavior Leads to Showdown

An officer was patrolling an area that had previously been the site of a number of car break-ins. He observed a vehicle quickly pull into a driveway, and the driver got out and crouched alongside the car. The officer put a light on the vehicle, at which point the driver ran into the house.

As the officer went to investigate, the man began yelling threats and warned the officer not to take another step. The officer repeatedly identified himself as a member of the police department, but the man in the doorway continued to shout threats. The officer disengaged and backed out of the driveway.

It was later learned that the man in question is on probation, and by making threatening statements, he was in violation of the conditions of his release. He was charged with attempting to resist a police officer.

Suspect Taken to the Ground after Domestic Assault

A resident of an upstairs apartment called to report a disturbance in the unit below. When police arrived, a male on the premises tried to argue his version of events, but a third party who was interviewed did not corroborate his story. The male took off while the police interviewed the female involved. She exhibited physical signs of strangulation. The male suspect returned, and police had to clear the scene. He resisted arrest, and the officers had to take him to the ground. He was charged with three felonies including assault by strangulation.

Later, the suspect was subject to a bond violation for attempting to coerce the victim. He was heard on a jail phone call trying to convince her not to show up to court or to lie in court.

Friend Refuses to Return Car

Police received a call from a person who had loaned a car to a friend who refused to return it. Police made contact with the suspect who said the car was parked in Greenville if the owner wanted to come retrieve it.

Biking Under the Influence

A plain clothes patrol was looking for a stolen vehicle when it saw a man on a bicycle at 12:30am who matched the description of a suspect. The officer, who was in an unmarked car, activated his lights. The man fled. When he was finally stopped, it was discovered he was not the suspect, but he was a 17-year old under the influence of alcohol and marijuana.

Underage Drinkers in a Van

An officer made a stop at a local gas station and was told about several kids who appeared to be drinking in a van. The van drove away, and the officer followed it in his vehicle. He noted that the passengers were moving in a very animated fashion. When the van was pulled over, there was a variety of open and sealed alcoholic containers including Fireball Whiskey, Miller Lite, Natural Light and Corona as well as marijuana paraphernalia. There were five people in the vehicle, and they were mostly minors. Three occupants were drinking.

Repeat Retail Fraud

The Lowell Police Department was called to Rite Aid after a manager recognized a couple in the store who had previously stolen goods. This time, they took off with a bottle of vodka. The couple was known to the police, but it took about four days to locate them. They were camping illegally on private property off Bowes Road. Their tent was removed, and they admitted to the crime.

Party ‘til the Break of Dawn

At 3:38am, a resident had finally had enough of the loud noise coming from a neighboring property. The responding officer observed that the back door to the residence was open and the residents were being loud. Police made contact with the occupants who agreed to go inside and close their doors.

Potential Drugs Turned over to Police

A local company found a bag of a powdery substance in their women’s restroom. They turned it over to the police. In a different case, needles were found at a picnic table at the Pebble Beach boat launch. In both cases, the items were set for destruction.

Possible Embezzlement from Vulnerable Adult

A vulnerable adult was concerned someone had taken money from them and deposited it into another account. After an investigation, police discovered the adult had asked the person in question to move their money because he believed doing so would keep him out of a nursing home. However, he was frustrated that he asked for some money back to make a purchase, and he felt as though the other person involved had not filled his request quickly enough.

Minors in Possession of Alcohol, Marijuana

Police pulled over a vehicle at midnight for a non-working light. Inside the vehicle was a tray of green, leafy substance, a marijuana grinder, other marijuana paraphernalia and a bottle of vodka. The driver had a 0.0 blood alcohol content, but everyone else in the vehicle was found to be under the influence. They were charged with being minors in possession of alcohol, and the driver was charged with transporting.

Another Underage Marijuana Case

A vehicle was observed parked at a closed business at 3:10am. When an officer investigated, the female occupant said she was looking for friends. A strong odor of marijuana came from the vehicle. The woman failed a field sobriety test but denied smoking marijuana. However, there was a half-smoked marijuana cigarette and a bag of green, leafy substance in the vehicle. The woman was younger than age 21 and charged with being a minor in possession.

Contaminants Discharged into Flat River

As previously reported, a sharp-eyed resident observed a substance being discharged into the Flat River. Public works personnel were contacted, and they were able to trace the source of the discharge to a house on N. Hudson Street. A contractor’s truck was parked outside the property.

When city employees and a police officer arrived, the contractor got into his truck and drove away. His license plate number was recorded however. No one answered the door at the residence, and the officer noted a pool on the property was empty of water.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE) was notified, and Young’s Environmental Cleanup came to address the contamination. Officials are currently awaiting an analysis of the contaminated water to determine what substance was discharged into the river.

Lowell Police Chief Steve Bukala says these types of situations can be handled locally or at the state level, and it’s up to EGLE to determine where this case will be directed.

Possible Embezzlement from Business

A business filed a report of missing tools and cash. It is believed a former employee took the items and also racked up several thousand dollars on the business NAPA account. Police are currently trying to locate the suspect.

Foot Pursuit in Kent County

The Kent County Sherriff’s Office asked the Lowell Police Department to assist with picking up a person on a warrant. When officers knocked on the door, they heard movement. They then observed a man drinking a beer inside. He yelled loudly when he saw the police and took off through a basement sliding door. A five-minute foot pursuit ensued with the police eventually catching up to the man and cuffing him.

Restaurant Worker Bit by Dog

Police responded to a report of a restaurant worker being bit by a dog. The worker recognized the door as being from a neighboring home. The owner was cited for their dog running at large, and information about the incident was relayed to Kent County Animal Control.

Response to Sick Raccoon

In another assist to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, a Lowell police officer responded to a call in the township about a sick raccoon. A woman was concerned about the animal which was located in bushes on her property. The officer observed symptoms associated with distemper, corralled the animal and euthanized it.

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