DNA from blood and glove links man to smash and grab crimes at area vision stores

Police estimate suspect could be tied to 15 crimes
Posted at 6:28 PM, Oct 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-28 19:17:33-04

DNA evidence found on a piece of glass and in a latex glove at two separate crime scenes could help police solve a rash of smash-and-grab crimes that have plagued Northeast Ohio vision stores for a year.

Summit County detectives and Akron police have issued breaking and entering warrants for Andre Yeager, 47, of Cleveland. Law enforcement officials from both agencies are now asking for the public's help to locate him.

Yeager is accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of high-end designer eye frames from Union Eye Care in Akron and Novus Clinic in Coventry Township. Both incidents happened in September.

Scott Weekley, the chief operating officer for Novus, said a rock was thrown a window, the crook crawled through the window and then stole about $30,000 worth of expensive frames and sunglasses.

However, crucial DNA evidence was left behind when blood was found on broken glass.

"The blood from him actually dripped down from the suspect onto the floor onto the glass," Weekley said.

In addition, DNA evidence was also located on a glove inside Union Eye Care.

DNA samples from both cases were submitted to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and a match was made to Yeager, who is in a criminal database for previous convictions, according to Lt. Scott Cottle from the Summit County Sheriff's Office.

Cottle said Yeager could be linked to as many as 15 smash-and-grab crimes at vision stores throughout Northeast Ohio.

Investigators believe Yeager has been selling the stolen frames on-line or on the streets for months and the hot inventory connected to him could potentially reach $1 million.

Anyone with information on Yeager's whereabouts is asked to call the Summit County Sheriff's Office at 330-643-2181 or Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-COPS. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.