Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 20, 2013

Michigan in Brief: 02/20/2013


— House passes offender registry expansion

LANSING — More Michigan residents may soon be added to the state’s online public sex offender registry.

The full House passed a bill Tuesday that would require people convicted of a single Tier I offense for some crimes involving minors to be placed on the online sex offender registry. Offenses that would qualify would include unlawful imprisonment if the victim is a minor and knowingly possessing sexually abusive material of a child.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge says the bill will allow the public to “protect their children and grandchildren.”

The House Fiscal Agency reports that a few hundred people would be added to the state’s public registry. Currently people convicted of Tier II and III offenses are already placed on the registry.


More than 25,000 vehicles stolen in 2011

LANSING — Automobiles made by General Motors and Chrysler were eight of the 10 most common vehicles stolen in Michigan in 2011.

The statistics were released Tuesday by the Michigan Automobile Theft Prevention Authority, which awards grants to prevent auto theft and catch thieves. The agency says there were slightly more than 25,000 vehicles stolen in 2011, down nearly 7 percent from 2010.

The No. 1 vehicle was the 2000 Dodge Caravan, followed by the 2004 Chevrolet Impala and 1997 Chevrolet full-size pickup.

Dan Vartanian of the antitheft group says older models may be vulnerable because they’re easier to steal.

The 1997 Ford Taurus was No. 4, followed by: 2002 Dodge Intrepid, 2005 full-size Ford pickup, 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix, 2011 Chevy Malibu, 2002 Dodge Stratus and 2003 Dodge Ram pickup.


Panel debates bottle return fraud penalties

LANSING — People in Michigan attempting to return outof-state cans and bottles for a dime per container refund could face jail time, under legislation debated in a house committee.

The bills were taken up by the House Regulatory Reform Committee Tuesday. If passed, someone who attempts to return between 100 and 10,000 non-returnable containers could face a maximum fine of $1,000 or up to 93 days in jail. Current law sets penalties only for people that have actually returned fraudulent containers.

Angela Madden of Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers said refunding cans not bought in the state hurts businesses. She said many businesses don’t have the machines to read the special mark or code on containers meant to prevent this fraud.

The committee did not vote on the legislation.


Changes considered after ID of body delayed

DETROIT — Michigan officials are looking at whether policy changes are needed after it took years to determine that an unidentified body was that of a missing 13-year-old girl.

No autopsy was conducted because the 2008 death was deemed a suicide and investigators initially believed the body was that of a woman between 19 and 21, the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday. DNA samples weren’t taken and the body was buried in 2011.

After the remains were exhumed last year, authorities used DNA testing to confirm that the body was that of Breanna Sharp.

She lived with her father Lenard Cobb in Texas before moving to Detroit to live with her mother in 2008. In 2009, Cobb contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about his daughter.