FPD nabs produce prowlers
A pair of vegetable stand thieves who made off with a lot of produce over the past five years were recently apprehended.
The Frankenmuth Police Department were called to a produce stand Friday afternoon, August 14, in the 7000 block of Junction Road in Frankenmuth Township.
The owner, a 46-year-old Frankenmuth man, witnessed two white males stealing items from his stand. When he confronted them, they paid for the items. While placing them in the trunk of their vehicle, he noticed the trunk was filled with more produce. They quickly fled the scene and traveled westbound on Junction Road.
“He estimated he lost $60 in produce that day from the stand,” FPD Chief Don Mawer said.
The stand owner has had surveillance cameras in the area over the years and this was not the first time he has reported such thievery. The suspects were both white males, about 6-foot-2, one weighing about 300 pounds with a cleft lip and the other weighing about 180 pounds with a beard.
However, as word got out about the latest theft, other stand owners in the area reported they were losing produce on a yearly basis, since 2011, including stands out on Hess, Reimer and Portsmouth roads.
“They had been making the rounds quite frequently, but they drove a smaller red vehicle. We were able to get the license plate information and traced it back to a city street in Saginaw,” Mawer said.
FPD officers contacted the registered owner, who said his son-in-law has been driving his car. He lived on the same city street. Officers contacted the one who was the driver, a 51-year-old Saginaw man. Officers asked him and his accomplice, who turned out to be a 51-year-old Bridgeport Township man, to come to the FPD station to discuss the case.
The pair agreed, however, before coming to Frankenmuth, they stopped at the Junction Road stand, intending to make full restitution.
The homeowner called the police, who arrived and removed them from the property. During the interview, both confessed to larcenies at several area produce stands for many years.
The paperwork is being forwarded to the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office where they will face charges next week in Saginaw County’s 70th District Court.
“They weren’t just taking produce . . . they were stealing jellies and jams and other canned goods available at these stands,” Mawer said. “We had at least two instances since 2011 where surveillance cameras helped out at unstaffed stands. We’ve certainly taken a lot of complaints,” Mawer said.
In other FPD news, officers on routine patrol stopped a vehicle traveling southbound on South Main Street when driver and car ran a red light at River Street. The stop took place at Flint Street.
Further investigation led to the arrest of a 34-year-old Clio man for allegedly operating while impaired. He failed field sobriety tests and was lodged in the Saginaw County Jail.
His passenger, a 30-year-old Clio woman, also was not able to drive the vehicle. A Reinert & Bender Auto Repair and Towing wrecker impounded the vehicle from the scene.