Four arrested in string of thefts from automobiles in Ferndale

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published October 1, 2019

 Rashada

Rashada

 Byars-Walker

Byars-Walker

 Walker-McNeil

Walker-McNeil

 Littles

Littles

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FERNDALE — Four men have been arrested in connection with a large number of thefts from vehicles, and automobile thefts, in Ferndale.

The Ferndale Police Department announced in an Oct. 1 press release that it had arrested Carlos Byars-Walker, of Detroit; Wellington Littles, of Pontiac; Corey Rashada, of Highland Park; and Kiron Walker-McNeil, of Detroit, for their alleged involvement in multiple crimes in Ferndale and other metro Detroit cities.

According to the release, during the month of September, Ferndale saw an unexpectedly high number of thefts from unlocked cars, and numerous stolen vehicles. Last month, Sgt. Baron Brown told C & G Newspapers that police believed the crimes were linked and that a group of individuals were committing the thefts.

An investigation was conducted with the Detroit Police Department, the FBI-Detroit Violent Gang Task Force, the Wayne County ACTION Task Force, Oakland County Auto Theft, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit, the Oak Park Public Safety Department, the Troy Directed Patrol Unit, the Troy Special Investigations Unit and the Warren Police Department. That investigation led to four suspects who allegedly committed crimes not only in Ferndale, but also in Detroit, Farmington, Grosse Pointe Park, Hazel Park, Lansing, Oak Park and Warren.   

The release states that the suspects would walk through different neighborhoods on an almost nightly basis to check for unlocked cars and steal anything of value, including change, credit and debit cards, cellphones and the vehicles themselves. For the change, at least one or more suspects would take the loose coins to the same location in Detroit and use a Coinstar to turn them into bills, according to police.

“In Ferndale alone, we believe these four individuals are responsible for 44% of the reported thefts from vehicles this year (65 out of 145) and at least 3 stolen vehicles,” the release states. “Through interviews with the suspects, we estimate they are responsible for at least 40 additional unreported thefts from vehicles just here in Ferndale, hundreds more larcenies from unlocked cars in the metropolitan area, and in excess of $400,000 worth of recovered stolen vehicles.”

Ferndale police recovered 11 vehicles — which had been reported stolen out of various jurisdictions — that were attributed to these suspects during the course of the investigation.

Brown wouldn’t elaborate on how they were able to track down the four suspects, but Brown said one piece of information usually can cascade into another piece of information and continue until police find what or whom they need.

“You identify a person, you watch that person, and you see them meet with somebody else, and you connect them,” he said. “It just all kind of cascaded to the point where we were able to identify these four as the main actors, the ones that were mainly involved in the incidents.”

After a lengthy surveillance period, Byars-Walker, 21, was arrested Sept. 19 in the 20000 block of Russell Street in Detroit by Ferndale police. He was turned over to ACTION Auto Theft Task Force investigators. Not quite a week later, Walker-McNeil, 17, Rashada, 21, and Littles, 17, were arrested Sept. 25 at Oakland Mall in Troy, also by Ferndale officers. 

All four individuals, Brown said, were in possession of a stolen vehicle from various jurisdictions.

“They were nice enough to not just steal from Ferndale,” he said. “They stole from everywhere.”

According to the release, each jurisdiction involved is seeking arrest warrants for the crimes committed in their areas, with the Oakland County Curtail Auto Theft unit handling several of the Oakland County cases.

As of Oct. 1, only Rashada had been charged with a crime in Ferndale: one count of unlawful driving away of an automobile.

Rashada also was charged with three counts of receiving and concealing stolen vehicles and two counts of possession of a stolen financial transaction device. Those charges stem from other jurisdictions.

Byars-Walker and Littles were charged with one count each of receiving and concealing a stolen vehicle, and Walker-McNeil was charged with two counts of receiving and concealing a stolen vehicle.

Brown said the four were charged with what they could be charged with, though more charges could be on the way. In some incidents, such as cases where the suspects allegedly took small amounts of change, the sergeant said it would have been difficult to charge the suspects.

“To charge them with the 65 larcenies from autos just isn’t possible, because if they took 50 cents out of one car and a phone charger and $20 out of the next car, you know, there’s no way to tie that back to them,” he said. “Plus, on an almost daily basis, they would visit the same store in Detroit and run the change through a Coinstar machine. So the evidence is now gone.”

Brown is happy they were able to get suspects in custody, as well as show Ferndale that it only takes a small number of people to make a big impact on the community.

“When I think back about all the hard work I watched (the detectives) put into this case, coming in at 3 a.m. on numerous days and staying late … it’s good to see the fruits of their labor pay off, and that’s why we do this job, to a large part,” he said.

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