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GPRD Chief: Teens stealing Kias, Hyundais 'aren't being held accountable,' are likely to act again

13 ON YOUR SIDE obtained dash cam video that shows the danger these kids are getting into and the lives they're putting at risk.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Three teens are in police custody after stealing a KIA in Walker. 

Police say the car was stolen in the Greenridge Shopping Mall on Tuesday, July 26 and Grand Rapids Police made the arrests several hours later.

The driver was 14-year-old and two handguns were recovered in the vehicle.

There was also an incident involving a Grand Rapids Police officer and a stolen KIA on July 2. 

13 ON YOUR SIDE obtained dash cam video that shows the danger these kids are getting into and the other lives they're putting at risk.

The video shows the moment the stolen KIA slams head-on into a Grand Rapids Police officer's cruiser. 

You can see the three people inside take off running after the crash. 

A 16-year-old boy was arrested a short time later and lodged at the Juvenile Detention Center. 

The officer was taken to a nearby hospital, though he wasn't seriously hurt.

The incident happened in the 1000 block of Sherman Street SE around 7:30 a.m.

"If it's a stolen motor vehicle with a 14-year-old driving and we pursue that vehicle, there's a chance a 14-year-old who's probably not an experienced driver is going to go right through a red light and kill themselves or someone else," said Chief Eric Winstrom with GRPD.

Winstrom says the children aren't being held accountable and there's a high rate of recidivism.

He adds there are two state-operated juvenile justice facilities that offer rehabilitation services and can house juveniles, however they're having staffing issues right now.

"Post-COVID, we haven't recovered and it's very difficult to hold these young offenders accountable in a way that's meaningful, in a way that gives them the services that are needed to make sure they can get out of the path they're going down."

The chief says all the local agencies are trying to work together to makes arrests, but they're being stretched thin.

"We still have to answer to 911 calls on a daily basis so we can't spend our time out searching for the stolen KIAs and Hyundais. We still have to do other things police officers can do."

Currently, Walker Police are investigating 10 reports of stolen KIAs or Hyundais in the Alpine Avenue Corridor which includes the mall, Center Drive hotels, Greenridge Apartments and AMC Theater since Saturday, July 23.

    

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