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Suspected Credit Card Culprits Caught

One male suspect has been apprehended in connection with several car thefts throughout Western Michigan, while another young man remains at large. The pair is facing theft charges after a series of break-ins, which netted the suspects more than $20,000 in stolen property.

Authorities report that a 21-year-old man is currently in custody, facing charges of larceny of a firearm, along with counts of breaking into a vehicle and financial violations. The 20-year-old suspect, who has so far eluded authorities, is charged in connection with possession of stolen property. The thefts allegedly occurred between December 2012 and March 2013. The suspects are accused of stealing from vehicles in Kent and Ottawa counties, according to official reports.

The pair is accused of stealing purses and wallets. Credit cards were taken to pay for gift cards, which were then used to purchase fuel and other items. The men reportedly took a .40-caliber handgun from one of the vehicles; that weapon remains unrecovered. Other stolen property has been retrieved, however, using search warrants obtained through official police investigations.

Community members are being urged to contact officers if they have information on the second suspect's whereabouts.

In this case, the men may be able to instill reasonable doubt through a jury trial. By pleading not guilty, the men could effectively avoid punishment for the criminal charges, assuming that a jury or bench trial exonerated them from the criminal charges. A guilty plea could be a more beneficial decision, though, considering the significant amount of evidence linking the men to the crimes.

Guilty pleas allow criminal defendants to negotiate with prosecutors for reduced or dismissed charges. The defendants confess to the crimes in exchange for sentencing leniency. In this case, the first suspect is facing a felony charge because of larceny with a firearm. A plea deal could permit the man to serve time for only misdemeanor charges, depending on defense attorneys' abilities.

Source: Michigan Live, "Man suspected in credit cards thefts in Kent, Ottawa counties sought by police," Heidi Fenton, March 29, 2013

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