U-Haul dealers trying to fend off smash and grab thieves

Posted at 5:19 PM, Mar 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-14 19:17:18-04

After a string of recent smash and grab robberies in Cleveland involving U-Haul trucks, neighborhood rental truck dealers are enhancing their security to fend off thieves.  

A CVS store located on Memphis Avenue and Pearl Road in Cleveland was hit by two smash and grab thieves driving a U-Haul on Tuesday morning.

The entire U-Haul truck went inside the store and resulted in a portion of the wall collapsing. The ATM was left behind. 

According to Cleveland Police, one of the suspects, 18-year old Leonard Cottrell of Garfield Heights, was immediately captured on foot after officers followed foot prints from the scene. 

The second suspect, 27-year old Jesse Cunard of Cleveland, was located hiding in a garbage can.  

Both are being held for Breaking and Entering, Vandalism, Possession of Criminal Tools and Safecracking.

The incident comes just a week after a different attempted smash and grab involving a U-Haul at the Rite Aid at E. 71st Street and Harvard Avenue. 

On December 29, another U-Haul moving truck smashed into the Quick & Easy at the corner of East 128th Street and St. Clair Avenue. 

In November, a U-Haul was involved in a high-speed chase with Strongsville police that ended in a violent crash in Cleveland. 

In response, neighborhood U-Haul dealers like Isaiah Johnson, who manages the Superior Car Wash and Auto Detail Center on Cleveland’s east side, are taking extra precautions. 

“It’s just more for us to have to worry about,” Johnson said. 

Johnson has had to report trucks missing in the past. He had to move his key drop box after thieves attempted to remove it off the side of the building. 

“We had to relocate it to somewhere that we knew they couldn’t take it off,” he explained. 

He said they’ve even had issues with renters providing false information and credentials in order to steal the vehicles. 

He said they’re also parking vehicles in sight of the street in an effort to keep his trucks from becoming part of the next smash and grab crime scene.