Rash of thefts from vehicles in hardware store parking lots continues

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - An alert Rocky River police officer who was looking for a theft suspect arrested a man earlier this month, but not the man he was hunting.

Patrolman Edward Kolenc spotted a car that resembled one used in a theft from a construction worker's truck at Home Depot on Center Ridge Road. When he pulled it over, it turned out it belonged to Hollis Rumph, a man with a very long history of theft convictions.

The officer found merchandise stolen earlier at a dollar store on Detroit Road, but not from the Home Depot theft.

Rumph has 14 cases for drugs and theft in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, 25 for various traffic and theft offenses in Cleveland, and five for thefts in Parma Municipal Court.

Over the years, Rumph's periods of time with no crimes appear to be when he is locked up. That trend will continue because Rumph was sentenced in Rocky River Court to 90 days on one case and 180 on another. The cases will run consecutively, so he will be locked up till July of 2018.

Police in several communities say to be alert in hardware store parking lots as thieves are stealing expensive tools from work trucks when unsuspecting owners enter the stores. Included are Westwood Town Center in Rocky River, as well as Steelyard Commons in Cleveland and a location in Massillon.

It is unclear if the thefts are connected, but the technique is similar. When a contractor enters the store, an accomplice follows with a cell phone. He makes sure the victim doesn't return too quickly and warns the thief who is outside when the victim is leaving the store.

Another warning is to lock tools in the beds of trucks.

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