Keeping Lowell Safe: Police Beat for September 2018

September was another full month for the Lowell Police Department with officers fielding 183 calls. Major cases broke down along the following lines:

  • Drug related arrest – 1
  • Drunk driving – 2
  • Medical assists – 9
  • Assist other agencies – 19
  • Accidents – 13
  • Ordinance violation complaints – 7

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

Rowdy Teens at Church

A call came in reporting a group of teens running through the sprinklers at a local church. Playing in sprinklers to cool down isn’t too unusual, except when it’s done at 3am. Lowell has a curfew of 11pm for those younger than age 16.

Upon contact with the juveniles, the officer observed they appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. The teens were ages 17, 16 and 14 and charged with being minors in possession.

Felonious Assault by Juvenile

In another case, officers responded to a call about a juvenile male threatening another person with a knife. The suspect was lodged at juvenile detention for felonious assault.

New Speed Signs on Hudson

Electronic speed signs have been installed on Hudson Street and appear to be helping reduce traffic speeds. Prior to their installation, speed studies showed rates of 31 and 30 miles per hour in the 25 mile per hour zone, with many vehicles exceeding those levels. Now, traffic is moving at 29 miles per hour going south and 27 miles per hour heading north.

There are also electronic speed signs on Main Street, but they are turned off until the Michigan Department of Transportation approves their use. When asked if there was an expected date for when that would happen, Police Chief Steve Bukala said it might still be some time. “If we were all on the state’s timetable, no work would ever get done,” he said. “You can quote me on that.”

Unwanted Text Message

A resident contacted the police about an unsolicited text message he received from a woman named Jordan. She said she lived down the street, referenced an adult website and made a suggestion that cannot be repeated on a family-friendly website. The resident asked if others were reporting similar messages. The police said his was the first report they had received.

Threatening Phone Call

A local business received a threatening voice message after the owner publicly shared concerns about the opioid abuse crisis and the legalization of marijuana. Upon listening to the message, the police believed they identified the caller based on previous contact with the individual. They called the suspect and advised that threatening calls can be a criminal matter.

Sex Offender Registration Violations

The Lowell Police Department addressed two violations of the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act in September.

The first involved an individual who was non-compliant in paying sex offender registration fees. The fees are collected annually to maintain the registry, and this person had not paid since 2005. The individual also had a suspended license, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was picked up and lodged for the warrant.

Another person violated the act by failing to report his work location. By statute, a person on the registry has 10 days to report changes to their address or work place. This person waited several months, and the police discovered the problem when the offender made his required quarterly check-in with the police department.

Airbnb Ordinance Violation

The police department was notified that an unauthorized Airbnb had opened in the city. The owner was notified and has made plans to seek the appropriate special land use permit from the Planning Commission.

Repeat Drunk Drivers

A woman who was arrested for drunk driving last month apparently didn’t get the message to stay off the road after consuming alcohol.

At 3:30am, police responded to a Camaro double parked over a handicap spot on the west side of town. Two people were standing outside the car, and a third person took off running when police arrived. The vehicle was registered to the woman present, and she admitted to driving it. She was given a field sobriety test and had a blood alcohol level of 0.16. She was charged with operating while intoxicated as her blood alcohol was above the legal limit of 0.08.

In a separate incident, a different woman was charged with an OWI after she was observed driving down the center of Main Street. Her blood alcohol level was 0.23, and this too was her second offense. She was arrested and lodged at the county jail.

Drunk and Disorderly on Main Street

One night, at 8pm, police responded to a call of drunk and disorderly people walking on Main Street. The group of men and women appeared to be in their 40s and 50s and were visibly intoxicated. When approached by an officer, one woman loudly declared, “I’m a big deal in this town.”

The group had been hoping to stay at the Main Street Inn but were turned away because of their drunken state. The officer was able to help them find a sober driver who escorted them away from the area.

Abandoned House Attracts Wrong Residents

One house in the city has been vacant for four years. Apparently abandoned, it has developed holes in the siding which seem to make it the ideal home for various animals. The building inspector has been called and the owner notified that repairs need to be made or the property will be condemned.

Online Sale Gone Wrong

A woman reported purchasing an Xbox for $300 through the Facebook Marketplace. The system was supposed to include a hard drive and come loaded with seven games. It did not, in fact, have a hard drive nor did it have seven games. When the woman tried to contact the seller, he blocked her. She did not want to press charges but did want a police record of the incident.

Chief Bukala reminds people that they are always welcome to use the Police Department lobby to complete online purchases. There are electrical outlets in the hall that can be used to plug in devices and ensure they work properly. “If they don’t want to meet you here, it’s probably fraudulent,” he says.

Sibling Discord

The police responded to a report of a stabbing between a brother and sister. The brother had a small cut on his hand, and the sister was charged with felonious assault. This charge was later reduced to domestic assault. She said she stabbed him because he tackled her.

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener

Differing opinions on lawn care led one resident to call the police to complain his neighbor was “scalping his lawn.” Upon investigation, the police found that the offending neighbor had cut three strips of grass on the adjoining property because he thought it was growing too long. The police counseled the resident on the grass ordinance and advised that it is better to call in a complaint than to take the lawn into his own hands.

Retail Fraud at a Gas Station

The manager of a local gas station called about a case of retail fraud. He observed a person walk toward the men’s restroom with two hats and believed they were stolen. The manager knew the suspect’s first name, and the police were able to identify him from the store’s security footage. He was charged with retail fraud third degree for stealing $27.99 worth of hats.

Stolen Goods at Tractor Supply

A person apparently walked out of Tractor Supply with a cart full of items without paying. They sped away, but not before their license plate was recorded. The police are currently investigating.

Missing Marijuana

A man with a medical marijuana card reported a theft of marijuana, muscle relaxants and pain relief medicine. He believed a relative had taken the items, but he could not provide a name to police.

Bad Checks Bouncing

Two bad checks totaling $1,026 were written at a local business. When the owner confronted the customer, the person offered to write a third check. The owner said no thanks and called the police instead.

After an officer attempted to make contact with the subject, the person called the business and paid with a card over the phone. No criminal charges were made in the case since the situation was rectified.

Unruly Traffic Stop

Lowell police assisted the Kent County Sherriff’s Department on a traffic stop outside the city limits. A female subject was resisting arrest, and a Lowell officer was dispatched to help the county deputy.

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