New Ohio City brewery postponed grand opening twice after break-ins

OHIO CITY - Theft after theft has forced Ohio City's newest brewery to push their grand opening back, yet again, after the business suffered two break-ins just weeks apart. 

"They knew what they wanted to take, unfortunately it was between $25,000 and $30,000...the thefts pushed us back another 45 days," Bad Tom Smith Brewing's owner John Vojtush told News 5.

Bumps in the road with city inspections originally pushed back the grand opening even before the two large thefts in October, which have now pushed it back even further. 

"We had just delivered 5 big screen tvs, our security equipment, our air conditioning equipment - that was a 300 pound unit sitting on a pallet bolted down - brewing equipment upstairs, and close to $10,000-$15,000 in contracting tools," Vojtush explained. 

Opening a business is tough, but the thefts were something they couldn't prepare for. 

"After the first break-in, we weren't really sure if this was an inside job or not, but after the second we realized this is a bigger issue." 

So Vojtush came forward about the break-ins.

"Ohio City is the place to be in Northeast Ohio for craft brewing," he said. 

But the growing construction zones in the area have become hot spots, too - residentially and commercially - making the surrounding areas vulnerable.

"Construction zones right now are really big targets," Ohio City Incorporated Area Safety Organizer Chad Biggers said. "It's been a lot of conversations about frustration."

Ohio City Incorporated has been proactive about the issue, creating a security camera network that targets residential thefts by installing cameras all over the area.

"We have approximately 80 cameras right now, mainly residential areas of the neighborhood," Biggers said. "I've noticed incidents shifting to different locations where there's not cameras."

Recent issues, like the thefts at Bad Tom Smith Brewing, have inspired Ohio City Incorporated to raise money to expand the program. 

"We're looking at Detroit, West 25th, and along Lorain," Biggers said, wanting to keep both locals and visitors safe. 

Vojtush told News 5 they'll have eight cameras installed at Bad Tom Smith Brewing, in addition to whatever Ohio City Incorporated decides to do with their network expansion. 

Everyone involved is hoping that coming together will create a well connected and safer neighborhood.

"Try to keep your eyes open to help us provide our services and also keep our employees safe," Vojtush said. 

Big Tom Smith Brewing is now set to open after Thanksgiving.

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