Teen accused of home break-ins has criminal cases moved to circuit court

With more people out of town for spring break, police say unattended homes are prime targets.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - A Byron Township teen linked to several home break-ins in southern Kent County last month waived his hearing in district court on three felony charges Monday, April 3, sending the matter to Kent County Circuit Court.

Troy David Ritsema, 19, is charged with two counts of home invasion and possession of burglar’s tools stemming from break-ins that occurred over the span of two days. He was linked to daytime home invasions in Gaines and Byron townships.

Ritsema was arrested March 17; investigators found stolen property in his vehicle and at his home. He appeared in 63rd District Court today for a probable cause hearing.

Under a plea agreement offered by the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office, Ritsema will not be charged with additional break-ins or a felony firearm offense if he enters pleas to the existing charges.

Ritsema does not have prior felony convictions, but was sentenced last month for a misdemeanor retail fraud case. Judge Jeffrey O’Hara denied a request to lower Ritsema’s bond, which was set at $100,000.

“The court is concerned regarding the safety of our community, continued substance abuse issues and the fact that Mr. Ritsema was before the court before these alleged acts occurred, being sentenced on other matters,’’ O’Hara said.

The most serious charge of first-degree home invasion is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

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