A potentially armed group of thieves are on the run, accused in a string of smash and grab burglaries across northeast Ohio early Tuesday morning, one of which put an entire family’s safety at risk.
Thieves smashed a minivan into a Boost Mobile cellphone store around 4:00 a.m. Tuesday at West 65th Street and Lorain Avenue while a family slept upstairs.
The impact ruptured utility lines, leaving live wires exposed.
“If that building caught on fire with the gas line right here if they get the gas line everybody would die in that building,” store owner Bashar Seder said, “It's like maybe six, seven people who live up there.”
— Derick Waller News 5 (@derickwallerTV) October 11, 2016
Seder said a gaping hole left in the side of his building would cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix and for seemingly no reason. He said the ATM the crooks were likely after was empty.
Surveillance video showed a group of five using that van to ram the store three times. A Cleveland Police cruiser could be seen pursuing the group’s getaway van, but they got away. The city has a strict chase policy, that only allows officers to pursue in cases involving violent felonies or OVI’s and not property crimes like this one.
It’s believed they continued their spree all around town, hitting up a Family Dollar store at Broadview Avenue and Pearl Road in Cleveland and a Speedway gas station at Euclid Avenue and East 222nd Street in Euclid.
Euclid Police chased and found the getaway van down the street, but the suspects were already gone.
And there could have been even more damage. A clerk inside a Circle K gas station on Lakewood Heights Blvd. and W. 140th St. told police he stopped those same guys from hitting his store with another mid-2000’s Dodge van. It’s a favorite of thieves because of the model was a best-seller at the time and they lack anti-theft features.
The clerk told police one of the men pulled out a gun before getting away.
Police have no suspects, but Seder believes they will eventually get caught.
"I think it's just a little group of kids,” he said.