CHARDON, Ohio — The Geauga County Sheriff’s Office is looking for three-high end vehicles stolen directly from a dealership’s showroom floor this week.
Deputies responded to Junction Auto at U.S. Route 322 and Ohio Route 44 around 2:15 a.m. Monday after a passerby reported suspicious activity in the dealership’s parking lot. When the deputies arrived several minutes later, a group of thieves had already left the scene.
“I think it all happened in less than five minutes. They were in the dealership, got the keys and drove them right out the dealership front doors,” said Geauga County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Tom Rowan.
He explained the group left with a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, a Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack and a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. According to the dealership’s website, the three vehicles are collectively worth more than $218,000.
Rowan said a fourth vehicle was found running at the scene, which investigators believe was used to push or pull one of the stolen vehicles through the showroom door. They think the brazen theft was likely planned in advance.
“They can target the place and scope it out and look for things and determine whether or not and when they can come back and get them,” Rowan said. “It probably took a little time and effort.”
The sheriff’s office alerted neighboring agencies to be on the lookout for the stolen vehicles. A short time later, several Chester Township police officers spotted the cars heading west on Mayfield Road with a fourth vehicle.
“By the time the vehicles got to Mayfield and Caves road, all four were in excess of 100mph,” said Chester Twp. Police Chief Craig Young. “They were traveling so quickly that they couldn’t really tell what type of vehicles they were.”
The two cruisers followed the cars for less than a minute before ending the high speed chase.
“As soon as our officers initiated the pursuit and they saw those tail lights leaving Chesterland, they terminated the pursuit. They were never in close proximity to the vehicles due to the high rate of speed,” Young said.
Investigators said the stolen vehicles were last seen heading toward Cuyahoga County and believe they likely went opposite directions when they reached I-271.
Junction Auto management told News 5 it could not comment on the ongoing investigation.
The sheriff’s office plans to prosecute the thieves on a variety of charges, including grand theft auto, burglary and vandalism.
“There’s a whole slew of charges they’re looking at,” Rowan said.
He added, Geauga County will work with nearby agencies to look for the stolen vehicles.
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