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Suspects Held Pending Charges In BB-Gun Attacks

June 9, 1987

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) _ Two people charged with burglarizing a gas station have been linked to a four-city wave of vandalism that included BB-gun attacks on highway motorists, police said Tuesday.

A 26-year-old man and a 17-year-old youth, both Walker residents, were in custody while police sorted through 250 to 300 related vandalism complaints, most of them BB-gun attacks, authorities said.

″You’re talking about hundreds of cases, from vehicles to storefront windows to you-name-it,″ said Walker Police Chief Walter Sprenger.

They were arrested on an industrial road in rural Walker about 3:30 a.m. Monday by police investigating a gas station break-in, Sprenger said.

Inside the suspects’ car were two pistols that use small canisters of carbon dioxide to propel BBs, several packages of BBs and a metal sling shot, Sprenger said.

The two were arraigned Tuesday on charges of breaking into and entering an unoccupied building and breaking into and entering a motor vehicle.

The charges stem from a break-in of a Walker gas station, in which motor oil, cigarettes and other items were taken, and the break-in of a car parked at a trucking company.

Since late April, police in Grand Rapids and the surrounding communities of Kentwood, Wyoming and Walker have received numerous complaints of BB-gun and related vandalism.

Some people suffered minor injuries from flying glass, while others lost control of their cars.

Sprenger said authorities will sort out the scores of BB-gun complaints this week before bringing additional charges against the two men. But Sprenger said he was ″tickled pink″ by the possible break in the case.

″The investigation has allowed us to close out numerous malicious destruction of property complaints throughout the Grand Rapids area,″ he said.

In one case, a family sitting in their car eating ice cream was showered with glass when the rear window suddenly shattered. In another, a man said a car followed him and fired BBs at his car, breaking the rear-view mirror and leaving 16 dents.

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