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Neighborhood cameras help Akron Police ID serial burglary suspect

Man arrested has prior prison record for burglary
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Posted at 5:40 PM, Apr 01, 2024

AKRON, Ohio — A man who has served time in prison for burglary is in trouble once again. He's a suspect in a rash of home burglaries that happened on the same day in an Akron neighborhood.

Gordon Mathews, 56, is charged with burglary, but police say additional charges could be filed.

According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, Mathews spent more than six years behind bars on two burglary charges.

He was released from prison in 2022 and was on post-release control— under the supervision of a parole officer— at the time of his most recent arrest.

Surveillance video— both from homes and a police system— proved to be crucial in the investigation.

Video from the home of Khai Shelton on Jefferson Avenue shows a burglar up to no good on Good Friday.

While Shelton was at the gym, a stranger was caught on camera breaking into the home, walking out with Shelton's 65-inch screen TV and loading it into a car.

Shelton's fiancee and their children also were not home.

"You feel violated," Shelton said. "If it was just me, I wouldn't feel as violated, but when you got family in the house, it takes it to a whole different level."

Police said hours earlier— and a few blocks away on Augusta Avenue— surveillance video appeared to capture video of the same man walking off with another big TV after breaking into a home.

"It looks like he knocks on the door, no one answers, kicks the door, goes in, grabs a TV and leaves. It all happens in a matter of a couple of minutes," said Akron Police Captain Christopher Brewer.

Police said Mathews remains a suspect in two other similar crimes that also happened on March 29 on Amelia Avenue and S. Rose Boulevard.

Shelton said he showed his videos to police immediately, giving them a clear picture of the suspect's face and of the license plate of the car he was driving.

"I showed the other cop the video footage of him and she's like, 'Can you zoom in?' Clear as day, you could see his face. Technology is perfect," Shelton said.

Investigators entered the license plate into the Flock camera system and got a hit.

Police stopped the vehicle around Cedar Street and Dart Avenue and arrested Mathews. According to Brewer, the suspect admitted to the break-in at Shelton's home.

Police said it could have been difficult to solve the case without the camera technology.

"It gives us a lot of information. If nothing else, like in this case, we know which direction the person went so we can start sending cars in the right direction," Brewer said.

After learning Mathews spent time in prison for similar crimes, Shelton said he was frustrated, not by the system but by the suspect.

"Every day, we wake up and we make choices on what we do. The system can't correct somebody's choice, decision making. They have to do that themselves," Shelton said.

As of Monday afternoon, Mathews was being held in the Summit County Jail. Captain Brewer said Mathews is charged in connection with the burglary at Shelton's house, but additional charges could be filed in connection with the other Friday burglaries in that neighborhood.

"As long as I don't have to see him, have to deal with him and he's not taking advantage of people, that's my concern," Shelton said.

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