A neighbor’s vigilance and quick thinking helped Bedford Police nab four men on suspicion of breaking into more than a dozen cars early Thursday morning.
Investigators are now looking into the possibility the suspects may be connected to similar thefts in neighboring cities, including Bedford Heights, Maple Heights and Garfield Heights.
Shortly after 3:30 a.m., Thursday morning, Bedford police were dispatched to the 600-block of Johnson Avenue after a neighbor heard glass breaking and saw someone rifling through his vehicle. When officers arrived, they found Larry Camp-Hatley at a nearby intersection and took him into custody. Officers were also able to locate Daeshoun Bethel hiding in the bushes in a nearby backyard, according to a police report. Both men allegedly had tools used to punch out windows.
A short time later, officers noticed two more men riding their bikes near where the thefts took place. Police stopped the two men and discovered they too had similar tools.
According to the police report, as many as thirteen vehicles on Johnson Avenue, Columbus Street, Lincoln Avenue, High Street, Marion Street and Berwyn Drive had at least one window broken out. The neighbor who originally called 911 had a window broken out of both of his vehicles, the report stated.
When Ted Wonderly woke up Thursday morning, he was greeted by shards of broken glass littering his driveway.
“There goes the day, shot a hole in that. I was going to jump in the truck because I had parts to be put on my other car. Fortunately, that wasn’t here,” Wonderly said. “They would have busted that one out too.”
Police are now looking at the possibility that the four males may be connected to a rash of car break-ins and thefts in Bedford dating back to early November. The police department posted homeowner surveillance video that showed four men attempting to break into a vehicle on a rainy night on Nov. 3. There were multiple car thefts reported that night, police said.
“I did stupid stuff too when I was a kid but I didn’t break into cars. Nah. I didn’t do that kind of theft,” Wonderly said. “Everybody, when they're young and they’re a kid, you’d take a penny candy or whatever. That’s it. Not this stuff.”
Wonderly said a new passenger window on his Chevy Silverado will cost roughly $100, thanks to his insurance company. For him, that’s the extent of the damage. The men didn’t bother to take anything inside his truck.
"When I opened the back door to let the dog in, this (center console) was open and it was tilted all the way back so they could get to the rest of the stuff,” Wonderly said. “They didn’t take my books-on-disc. They didn’t want to get educated. That would be the wrong thing to do.”
Sarcasm aside, Wonderly believes the parents of the accused deserve some of the blame as well.
The parents need a good smacking around,” Wonderly said. “You know what they say, the nut doesn’t fall too far from the tree, you know?”