Groveport Police catch “smash and grab” theft suspects

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By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Groveport Police officers apprehended two suspects who were allegedly involved in a series of vehicle break-ins.

According to Groveport Police Detective Josh Gilbert, two male suspects – a 51-year-old male from Orient, Ohio, and a 38-year-old male from Harrisburg, Ohio – are allegedly responsible for a rash of vehicle “smash and grabs” mainly in the southern warehouse district of Groveport from Jan. 12 through Feb. 9.

Groveport Police Chief Casey Adams said these vehicle break-ins were “smash and grab” thefts where the suspects broke into the vehicles and took whatever of value was lying around loose in the vehicles.

“Both suspects would smash the windows of vehicles parked in warehouse parking lots while the workers were inside working,” said Gilbert. “The suspects were always striking right before sunrise in the cover of darkness and targeted vehicles with items in plain view they could steal.”

Gilbert said the suspects were believed to be responsible for a rash of thefts in four separate jurisdictions.

“The suspects were stealing mainly purses from vehicles and then using the victims’ credit cards at stores,” said Gilbert. “This case was solved by patrol officers going above and beyond to collect video surveillance on the suspects and suspect vehicle.”

According to Gilbert, the suspects would place a stolen license plate on the vehicle to use during the thefts. After the theft they would stop at a nearby location and place the proper license plate back on the vehicle to avoid detection. Groveport Police Officer Danny Amabile was able to check numerous locations away from the original theft location where he observed them placing the original license plate back on the vehicle.

“Ultimately, surveillance was conducted and both males were taken into custody in the village of Harrisburg by detectives,” said Gilbert, who added a search warrant of the suspect vehicle revealed the property from three victims, which was turned over to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office due to the victims being in their jurisdiction.

Gilbert said citizens are urged to leave nothing of value in plain view in their vehicles.

“Please place any valuables out of sight or in the trunk,” said Gilbert. “Also, if you are the victim of a crime, we urge you to report it to us as your case could be the key case we needed to solve numerous additional cases.”

“I’m so proud of our officers,” said Adams.

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