KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Police are warning parents that thieves are targeting their vehicles as they drop off their kids at daycare.  

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office confirmed they are investigating ten related incidents in the last month. The criminals are stealing items from both unlocked and locked vehicles outside daycare centers, schools, parks and fitness centers.

“If they can see the items in the front or back seat, they will take every opportunity to grab those items,” said Sgt. Joy Matthews with Kent County Sheriff’s Office, “That’s whether or not your car is unlocked. If it is unlocked, they will break through the window to get the items.”

Matthews says the suspects are professionals, and the thefts happen very quickly. They use rental cars to pull up next to someone’s vehicle, and grab what’s inside the moment the driver leaves.

These thefts are not isolated to Kent County. Matthews says their investigators are working with other local, state, and federal investigators. Similar incidents are popping up in Ohio, Kentucky, and in other parts of Michigan.

Kentwood Police also confirm two of those thefts happened at a daycare in the city. A purse and backpack were stolen in two separate incidents.

Signs have been posted at some childcare centers. Other parents say they have had phone calls or emails, reminding them to leave the valuables at home, and keep their cars locked.

“The subjects involved are stealing purses, wallets, and bags containing personal information,” said Matthews, “They are then utilizing the items they stole in the vehicles to commit additional fraudulent activity, including credit cards and renting rental cars in individuals’ names.”

Matthews says so far, they have no suspects identified. However, there are no assaults related to the thefts.

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