The Kent County Sheriff's Office has arrested a 27-year-old man from New York who is suspected of stealing thousands from local grandparents.

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Police say Robert Augustin was arraigned in Kent County's 63rd District Court Monday morning. Augustin is being held on a $250,000 bond with charges of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise and Stealing a Financial Transaction Device.

"Grandparent Scams", which target senior citizens, have been on the rise in West Michigan. In these kinds of scams, thieves pose as a family member of the elderly person, claim to be in trouble, and ask for money.

The KSCO says over the past week they've investigated several scams known as the "Grandparent Bail Scam".  This scam presents the problem of a grandchild in jail needing money for bail. The scammer pressures the grandparents to send the cash via a courier who comes and picks up the money.

They warn residents to be on alert for scammers.

Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young said,

These scams are far too prevalent, and we are glad to apprehend the suspect and help bring closure to Kent County's victims. We remind the public to be vigilant when confronted with an unexpected prize or problem. Take time to pause and contact someone else you trust for advice before sending anyone money.

KSCO detectives are continuing to investigate and are attempting to identify any other victims that may have been impacted.

If you or someone else has been the victim of this kind of scam recently, or you have any other information that could aid the case, call the KCSO at 616-632-6125, or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345 to report information safely and anonymously.

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