Keeping Lowell Safe: Police Beat for December 2018 and January 2019

While Lowell spent December gearing up for the holidays and January shivering through the polar vortex, the police department was busy responding to accidents, investigating domestic disputes and pulling over drunk drivers.

Here’s how their stats for the two months stack up:

December – 177 Calls

  • Drunk Driving – 2
  • Drug Arrest – 1
  • Traffic Crashes – 9
  • General Assists – 32
  • Medical Assists – 9

January – 167 Calls

  • Drunk Driving – 1
  • Traffic Crashes – 13
  • General Assists – 19
  • Medical Assists – 8

And here’s a look at the details for some of these cases.

Domestic Dispute Ends in Arrest

Police were called to a domestic dispute between a husband and wife. The woman claimed she was being strangled. The husband was lodged in the jail on a count of domestic assault and strangulation, and charges were ultimately filed by the prosecuting attorney’s office for domestic violence.

Possible Breaking and Entering

A resident returned home to find a screen door at the back of the house open. Police investigated, and there was no forensic evidence to be found. What’s more, nothing in the home appeared to be missing. It had been raining that day, and it was determined that the wind may have been to blame.

Domestic Violence, Sex Offender Registry Violation

The police responded to a report of domestic violence and discovered there were two outstanding warrants for the suspect. He was lodged on those warrants, and it was further discovered that he was a sex offender who had not registered his address properly. The prosecuting attorney authorized two misdemeanor charges for domestic violence and one felony charge for failing to register.

Criminal Sexual Conduct

A 21-year old man was arrested for criminal sexual conduct for having sex with a 15-year old acquaintance. His bond was set at $20,000 and a no contact order was issued.

Smart911 System Results in Domestic Violence Arrest

Lowell Police Department was contacted by the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office to assist in intercepting a “rolling domestic” that was headed toward Lowell. Thanks to the Smart911 system, officers were able to locate and pull over the vehicle carrying the 911 caller. The victim was pregnant and bruised, and the driver was arrested.

Cow Wanders into Road

While much police work involves assisting people in difficult or tragic circumstances, one call in December was different. The Kent County Sherriff Department asked if Lowell could send officers to help corral a cow that had been in the road near Lincoln Lake and 6 Mile. Officers were unsuccessful in taking the cow into custody, and a neighbor noted the animal had been wandering the area since September. No one knew who owned it. Sadly, no photos of said cow were taken.

Drunk Driving, First Offense

A vehicle was pulled over for driving over the center line. The driver did not have a valid license but more concerning was his blood alcohol level which was 0.15. Anything at or above 0.08 is considered drunk driving. The driver was lodged for operating while intoxicated and driving with a suspended license. It was his first OWI offense.

Keeping the Elderly Warm

The Lowell Police Department assisted an elderly citizen on a cold day. Her husband was in the hospital, and she had locked herself out of her house. An officer brought her to police station to stay warm until a family member could arrive and open the home.

Aggressive Dog on the Riverwalk

A resident was walking her elderly dog on the Riverwalk. Her leashed dog was approached by a large, unleashed brown dog which began acting in an aggressive and harassing manner. The owner of the brown dog was nearby. She gathered up her dog and “ran away.” The elderly dog’s owner believed she recognized the other owner and provided the police with her name. Lowell Police attempted to contact the woman via Facebook Messenger to make her aware of Lowell’s leash law, but the woman did not respond.

Hit and Run at Cherry Creek

One vehicle backed into another vehicle at Cherry Creek Elementary School. Rather than remain at the scene of the accident, as required by law, the driver took off. A witness took photos which allowed the police to locate the at-fault driver. The victim decided to work it out with the other person and their insurance company rather than have the police involved.

Possible Possession of Meth

Lowell Police attempted to pick up a suspect on a felony warrant. During a pat down search of the person, the officer discovered a crystal meth type substance. The suspect said he had ADHD and the substance was Adderall. It has been sent to the lab for processing, and the case is pending the lab results.

Welfare Check for Homicide Investigation

Eaton County Sherriff’s Office asked the Lowell Police Department to conduct a welfare check on a city resident. Eaton County was investigating a homicide and the sister of a person believed to be involved in the situation had not been seen in several months. Lowell Police located the woman and confirmed she was safe.

Drunk Driving Crash on Segwun

Kent County Sherriff Department asked Lowell Police Department to assist with a car accident at Segwun and Grand River Ave. A vehicle had crashed into a pole there. The driver was found to be intoxicated.

Stolen Guitars

Three guitars were stolen from inside a church the week before Christmas. Lowell Police publicized the incident on their Facebook page as did the guitars’ owner. The next day, two of the three guitars were found on the front porch of the church. These were processed for fingerprints and DNA. The third guitar was discovered to have been sold to Guitar Center in Kalamazoo. That instrument was recovered from the store and returned to its owner. Two suspects were identified, and they admitted to taking the guitars. While originally charged with larceny, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison, the charges were reduced to misdemeanors that carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail.

Dispute Between Teens

After Christmas, an officer responded to a report of careless driving. When the vehicle was intercepted, the teenage driver said she was having trouble with a male classmate. Apparently, he tried to block her in at Meijer, and she drove over the curb to get around him. He then followed her onto the road, swerving and flashing his lights. The female, a junior in high school, said her issues with this classmate go back to 8th grade.

When the officer made contact with the male, he said the situation started when he was parked waiting for a friend. Apparently something was said that led him to become upset with the other driver.

Since there was no contact between the vehicles, there was no crime. However, information about the incident was forwarded to the deputy stationed at the high school for his review and future monitoring.

Heroin Arrest

A bar contacted police after finding a bag that contained what appeared to be drugs, drug paraphernalia and medication for the treatment of overdoses. Witnesses helped identify the owner of the bag, and the case is currently awaiting lab results on the nature of the drug-like substance found.

Stealing Beer after a Bad Day

An officer responded to a report of retail fraud in progress. A man was trying to steal two beers that he had concealed in his coat. When confronted, the man said he had just been fired because of alcohol use on the job, and he had no place to go. He didn’t think his parents would let him stay with them. The store owner decided not to press charges but told the man not to return.

Fence Destroyed at Fairgrounds

The Lowell Police Department was made aware of a property damage accident at the fairgrounds. A vehicle had apparently swerved off the road and destroyed a portion of fencing. Using parts found at the scene, officers were able to determine the vehicle in question was likely an early to mid-2000s Saturn Vue. They publicized information about the accident and were contacted through Facebook by someone whose neighbor’s car matched the description. The neighbor’s vehicle was both muddy and damaged.
The owner admitted she caused the damage and said she went off the road when her tire blew out. Interestingly, the blown out tire did not seem to cause her difficulty in driving home. She was issued a citation for leaving the scene of a property damage accident.

Stolen Cans

A local gas station noticed that five trash bags full of cans and bottles went missing from the premises. These were empty cans returned to the store by customers, and their value was approximately $100. Meanwhile, another report came in of a male trying to return several large bags of cans to a different store. Police interviewed the man, but there was not enough evidence to support criminal charges.

Case of the Missing Pallets

A local company reported that 12-15 pallets had been stolen from behind their building. Officers canvased the area and found one person who noticed someone loading skids into the back of a dark pick-up.

Later, a second larceny report came from the business. This time, 60 pallets were stolen. Witnesses observed a GMC Extended Cab Pick-Up with a trailer in the area. Police located this vehicle and pulled over the suspect. There were 17 pallets in the trailer, but the driver said he had gotten them with permission from a Greenville business. A worker from the Lowell business arrived and confirmed that the pallets in the trailer did not come from his business.

With no other leads, the case is closed for now.

Stopped in the Road

An officer was behind a vehicle when it stopped in the road for no apparent reason. The officer pulled over the vehicle, and the driver said he thought there was a stop sign there. He had also been driving over the center line and told the officer he was trying avoid potholes. However, this occurred on Foreman where there are no potholes. The driver didn’t know the time but did know he’d had some vodka. His blood alcohol level was 0.1, and he was lodged at the Kent County Jail.

Sex Offender Registration Violation

A tip came through Silent Observer that a sex offender was working within 1,000 feet of a school. This person told police he was homeless, but officers discovered he had posted on Facebook about his new job in October 2018. That Facebook post referenced the workplace mentioned in the tip. He was charged with a felony registration violation.

Bones in the Basement

During a home renovation, bones were found in a crawl space. A scientific support unit was sent to review the site. After analysis, they were determined to be animal bones.

Drunk and Disorderly at Bar

Officers responded to the report of a drunk and disorderly person at a local bar. When the police arrived, the person in question was trying to leave with someone else. He had an open beer in his hand. When an officer prevented him from getting into his car, the person said he would find a ride home. Someone came and picked up the man and his belligerent passenger.

Baby Items Stolen from Store

Police were called to a retail store after a woman apparently stole some baby clothes and formula. Staff noticed the woman was acting nervous, but other customers needed assistance so they could not keep an eye on her the entire time. When the woman went to leave, the cashier tried to confront her. The suspect has long brown hair and glasses. She was wearing a dark jacket and carrying a large purse. She left in a black vehicle that was in poor condition. She has not been identified yet, and the value of the items stolen is estimated to be $38.

Unknown Man Wanted for Questioning

A local business called the police station to say a woman in the store saw a man in a lime green hoodie rummaging through her car. The school crossing guard happened to be in the station at the time and said he saw a man matching that description walking on Main Street. He was last seen in the Key Vista community with a two-liter of Mountain Dew. Police would like to talk to the man but stress he’s not a suspect in any crime.

Refusing to Register as a Sex Offender

It was discovered a sex offender had not registered nor paid required fees for the sex offender registry since 2017. When contacted by police, the man said he had been registered for 25 years and was done updating the system. When police reminded him that he was subject to lifetime registration, he was not persuaded. A warrant was issued for a felony sex offender registration violation, and he was arrested.

Bomb Threat at Middle School

Lowell Middle School was evacuated because of a bomb threat discovered in a classroom. While several suspects were interviewed, it was determined that none of them had access to the room where the threatening note was found. No bomb was found in the school, and police are still investigating. Anyone with information can call Silent Observer at 616-774-2345 or toll free at 1-866-774-2345. A reward may be available.

Explicit Music at the Gym

Police responded to a call of two individuals being disorderly at a local gym. The people apparently were upset by a change in class times. They also said they were tired of listening to the manager’s explicit music. After police intervened, they collected their belongings, left and said they would not be coming back.

Theft of Extension Cord

A man and a woman entered a store in the early morning. They were wearing heavy clothes, and a worker directed them to the items they were interested in. The couple then left quickly without buying anything. A loss prevention officer reviewed the video and discovered the man took an extension cord valued at $17.05.

Stolen Jewelry

In another retail fraud case, two individuals walked into a store shortly before closing. When they left, the owner realized approximately $838 worth of jewelry had been stolen. Using video surveillance from a nearby store, police were able to identify a suspect. The suspect was contacted via the phone and said the other person in the store took the item. He drove to Holland to retrieve the ring and returned it. The store owner opted not to press charges.

Stealing Mom’s Car for Drugs

A woman believed to be addicted to opioids stole her mother’s car so she could travel to Grand Rapids to buy heroin. Her sister found her in the city and tried to block her in so she couldn’t drive away. While the woman was trying to evade her sister, she crashed the vehicle. She was taken into custody for the unlawful driving away of a vehicle.

Plowing Snow onto Someone Else’s Property

A resident complained that a neighbor’s snowplow service was pushing snow onto their sidewalk. A note was left by police on the homeowner’s door. The next day, the same thing occurred. It was determined the snow could possibly be coming from city plows as they cleared the streets.

Larceny between Friends

A teen girl told her friend that she could have her old phone, but she first wanted to remove photos and fix the screen. However, the friend took the phone while girl was in the shower. Later, the friend texted to ask the girl for her Apple ID information. The owner was upset that her friend took the phone without asking, but the suspect said she didn’t want to give it back because she had already spent $100 to fix the screen.

Materials Stolen from Construction Site

Police were called to a case of larceny at a local construction site. Apparently, the building had not been secured the previous day and a significant amount of wire and other materials were stolen. There are no suspects at this time.

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