DAVISON, Mich. (WJRT) - (7/26/2021) - Police in Genesee County uncovered a suspected car theft ring that spans multiple Michigan counties and possibly other states.
Two Flint men are in custody -- a 20-year-old and a 19-year-old. Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said the case involves another example of crime trending younger in Mid-Michigan.
“Chances are there’s some higher ups in this organization that have recruited these individuals, these youngsters and put them to work for you know marginal opportunity, marginal money,” Leyton explained.
He believes the arrests of 20-year-old Tavion Williams and 19-year-old Mason Wade is just the beginning of a much larger auto theft ring. The pair charged Monday with multiple felonies are facing up to 10 years in prison, accused of causing more than $20,000 worth of damage at Bisbee Car Company in Davison.
Investigators say the two stole six cars on two different nights at Bisbee. A piece of the company’s fence is still torn up. That’s how Leyton said Williams and Wade got the cars out of the lot the first night.
The second time they showed up, Leyton said there were cars blocking the fence. So, he explained, they used those cars to push the stolen vehicles off the lot.
“I think it’s a very brazen crime that they would go into the car shop and they would take cars, bust out windows and use cars as battering rams to knock down the fence,” Leyton said, “And then, use other cars as battering rams to knock down other cars that are in their way.”
The dealership called 911. The Davison Police Department was led to three of the stolen cars in Mt. Morris Township and Southfield thanks to OnStar’s tracking device inside each of them.
Leyton said police recognized the suspects, because they were seen on surveillance video gassing up the stolen cars just minutes after stealing them.
“We suspect that this is part of a larger car theft ring. We suspect that it involves other counties, maybe other states; but the investigation is ongoing and I anticipate there will be more arrests and more individuals charged,” he said.
Leyton’s office is working with the sheriff and the Genesee Area Investigative Network -- or GAIN -- to take down the ring.
So far, he said, they don’t know what the thieves planned to do with the cars. But with the chip shortage, Leyton suspects they were selling them or just chopping the cars up for parts.
Copyright 2021 WJRT. All rights reserved.