Mentor PD undercover operation focus on heroin

Posted at 8:55 PM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 20:55:12-04

As the heroin problem continues to get worse, so do the crimes associated with it, according to police. 

Mentor police saw a spike in thefts and they're doing something to stop them.

They've made 39 arrests in the past month and a half- all part of an undercover theft operation.

Lieutenant Majernik was in charge of the operation. He told NewsChannel 5 that heroin addicts steal from local businesses to support their addiction. 

"You name it, they'll steal it," he said. 

Majernik said almost every case they see is somehow connected to the heroin epidemic.

"Before they were breaking into houses, stealing from family members, then they eventually found that it's much easier to steal from stores," he said. 

Mentor police are combating the crime through the undercover theft operation.

"They're watching for criminal behavior and they're acting on it. It comes down to good police work," Majernik said. 

The undercover work is funded by a grant, meant to target the heroin problem in the state. Police said they've made 39 arrests less than a month and a half. 

"Our tactics adjust to the tactics the criminals are using," Lieutenant Majernik said. 

Police said, based on the numbers, organized theft rings are getting out of the city. 

Ante Logarusic, with the city of Mentor, told NewsChannel 5 the operation is part of a city-wide effort to  stay on top of the heroin problem.

"It's everywhere. You can't run away from it, what the different police departments around the country, and right here, are doing is trying to address this problem," Logarusic said. 

Logarusic said he hopes what's working for them, will eventually help others.
"The word on the street, from some of the people doing the stealing, is to stay out of Mentor," he said. 

Departments across the state are using the undercover model Mentor came up with to create similar programs in their cities, according to police and city officials.