Car thieves strike in Detroit's Corktown

Car theft victims upset at lack of response from police

DETROIT – Five groups of Corktown patrons came back from their night of fun this past weekend to find their rides gone.

Four out of the five vehicles already have been recovered with the wheels and rims missing, plus damage to the ignition.

Allan Lengel joined four friends for a late-night bite in Corktown. His suburban pals drove. Most Corktown businesses provide parking, but Saturday night's crowds were so big the veteran reporter for Deadline Detroit and his companions parked on a side street.

"We came back and the car was gone. It's just one of those moments where you feel a little stumped and there's a little bit of disbelief that a car could vanish," said Lengel.

To add insult to injury, officers did not respond to take their report. The group had to take an Uber ride to the Grand Boulevard police precinct where they met another group doing the same thing.

"I understand, you know, you're in the city, these things happen. But, you know, are they going to come back next week? Not likely," said Lengel.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the department had a car patrolling Corktown on Saturday night. However, Craig said now they'll shuffle resources and use a new, undisclosed strategy which has proven effective in the 12th Precinct.

Craig met Monday morning with union representatives to launch a pilot program -- deploying a roving downtown unit to just take reports.

"I want to make sure that they're out and about during those peak hours when people are visiting those peak areas where entertainment is occurring. We think this will enhance service," said Craig.

Corktown business owners are consulting with Quicken Loans and Wayne State University their effective security plans.

"This won't derail us. We've got too many good things going on, that this is a problem that's manageable and solvable and we know that we can deal with it," said Dave Steinke, of the Corktown Business Association.