Sterling police track down suspected shoe stealers

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published January 7, 2020

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Police are advising residents to beware when selling possessions via online or mobile app contacts following two incidents in which thieves allegedly stole brand name footwear in local parking lots.

Police said both recent incidents involved the use of a mobile app called Letgo.

Police documented the first incident in a Jan. 3 report. The seller reportedly coordinated a meetup with people who seemed to be interested in buying shoes in a McDonald’s parking lot at 8280 15 Mile Road, near Van Dyke Avenue.

But when the two parties met, a group of suspects allegedly stole the shoes — identified as Nike Air Jordan and Adidas Yeezy brands — and took off in a gold-colored pickup truck.

Police reportedly heard about a second incident the following day. Another person reportedly tried to use the Letgo app to sell Yeezy shoes, this time in the Kroger parking lot at 2260 18 Mile Road, near Dequindre Road. Again, multiple suspects allegedly swiped and got away with the footwear.   

“Overall, these suspects got away with over $1,000 in shoes,” the report said.

However, Sterling Heights officers on patrol reportedly worked quickly to track down some suspects, and police released video footage of a patrol vehicle pulling over a pickup truck. Police said they arrested two individuals for felonious larceny.

According to Sterling Heights police Sgt. Aaron Susalla, police made the arrests Jan. 4, as officers were searching for the truck once they received a description of it.

“One of our officers was able to locate (the truck) traveling on the roadway,” Susalla said. “They recovered the shoes.” 

The official Letgo app website suggests that, among other things, users establish meetings in “safe, convenient meeting spots” and “busy public places” such as bank lobbies and coffee shops. 

In a Jan. 6 statement, police reminded residents of the risks that come with selling things to strangers through apps or online connections.

“Be aware that you have no idea when someone is looking to set you up to steal or rob you of your items,” police said. “If doing one of these transactions, it’s always best to meet in a parking lot or lobby of a police department, or a designated ‘safe zone’ Craigslist location.”

Anyone who knows more information about these incidents is encouraged to contact the Sterling Heights Police Department by calling (586) 446-2800. Learn more about the Letgo app by visiting letgo.com.

Call Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at (586) 498-1058.

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