NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio (WOIO) - Six vehicles were stolen from the west end of North Olmsted early Friday, and neighbors say the crimes were caught on camera.
According to officers, that is the highest number of one-day vehicle thefts in at least a decade.
James Harter said police knocked on his mother’s door before 6:00 AM Friday, saying they found her work I.D. and numerous papers tossed in the road. Then they asked if her vehicle was missing, and that’s when she noticed the 2018 Jeep was gone—stolen from her driveway.
Harter tells 19 News, “After doing some research we realized it wasn’t just our car that was stolen. They stole some other cars from across the street and they broke into 30 cars in a nearby development as well.”
The vehicles were all stolen in the area from the Bretton Ridge subdivision at Christman Drive and Lorain Road to Old Shore Drive, a distance of 1.3 miles.
North Olmsted police said keys were inside every stolen vehicle, but Harter argues that’s not what happened in his mother’s case. He says the Jeep was locked, the windows were up, and they have both sets of keys in their possession.
The North Olmsted man says on one of the surveillance videos; you can hear the thieves use some type of device like a transmitter to disable the car alarm and get possession of the Jeep. He believes an organized theft ring is likely behind the crimes saying on camera they appear quick, organized, and experienced.
“From what I see it appears there are at least six people (involved) just by the amount of cars they went through so rapidly, and by the amount of vehicles they stole,” Harter said.
Officers also said at least 19 vehicles were entered in that same area.
All of the vehicles that were entered were left unlocked, police said.
Once inside the vehicles, the thieves took anything of value; including, money, wallets, and purses, police said.
Police are reminding residents to lock their car doors, remove keys from the vehicle and not to keep anything valuable inside your car.
Harter says, “They were in and out of here in less than 10 minutes, and like I said it was very well planned.”
The investigation is in the early stages, and at this point, no arrests have been made, and the vehicles have not been recovered.