Police nab burglars after they leave footprint trails in snow

When its cold and snowing, most people tend to stay inside bundled up nice and warm, but that's not the case for two criminals who were caught red-handed after leaving footprints in the snow during their recent burglaries.

The most recent incident occurred around 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 31, when Mentor on the Lake police received a call from a woman who said a man had tried to break into her home. It happened on the 7560 block of Manor Drive, a few blocks from Good Shepard Lutheran Church.

The caller told police the man had just tried to break in through her front door and then tried the back door when he couldn't get inside.

The would-be burglar ran away after the resident screamed, police said.

When authorities arrived, they discovered fresh footprints in the snow that led through several neighboring backyards.

Officers following the tracks to a nearby house where they came across a woman who said she was being followed by a man she didn't know.

The man, later identified as 33-year-old Jack A. Sherwood, was taken into custody.

Police said Sherwood couldn't provide a reason to why he was following the woman or what he was doing at her house.

Mentor on the Lake police Lt. John Forsythe said even though footprints make burglary cases like this easier, it still takes some good ole' detective work.

"It makes it easier, it’s not 100 percent because a lot of times, there are a lot of prints in the snow. You have to determine what’s a fresh print, what’s an old print," Forsythe said.

Sherwood was eventually charged with attempted burglary and burglary.

Two days prior to the incident in Mentor on the Lake, police in Wickliffe encountered a similar situation at a home on Coulby Court.

On Dec. 29, a resident called authorities after hearing some strange noises in her house. Police said the resident found a broken screen and discovered an unknown person had entered her house through a window.

Officers found footprints in the snow outside the window. They followed the prints back to a house on the 1500 block of East 289th Street, a few blocks from Ganley Subaru East.

The suspect, 32-year-old Brian Clay, who was found to be wearing soaking wet pants and socks, denied being outside or committing any type of crime.  According to police, Clay had been staying with relatives at the time.

Clay was taken into custody and charged with burglary.

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