Lorain Police chief helps patrol officers chase down robbery and theft suspect; but questions why he’s back on the street

Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 10:21 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Lorain’s Police Chief chases down a man wanted for robbery and theft. It happened Friday afternoon after patrol officers were alerted that a serial shoplifter was at it again.

Chief Jim McCann says his job is mostly administrative now, but he heard the call and is still a cop, so he wanted to provide backup to his uniformed officers.

However, he says the foot pursuit is not their focus but rather concerns that Lorain Municipal Court has repeatedly let the theft suspect back out on the street by allegedly reducing his charges.

Loss prevention employees at Meijer’s alerted police that Derrick Berberick, 26, had just left their store after allegedly stealing a cartload of items.

Chief McCann became part of the dragnet to catch him while waiting in an unmarked cruiser. But within minutes, the chase was on, “I’m not a big fan of running, and unfortunately, I was in the position where he ended up seeing us – seeing that we were police and he ended up running. So, I gave chase, and about 100 yards later, we caught him.”

As patrol officers secured a perimeter, the Chief chased Berberick through woods and over four lanes of highway traffic and arrested him.

Chief McCann tells 19 News that Berberick was put in handcuffs and began crying, “He just started crying, we had to put him on the ground, and we handcuffed him, and he started crying. It was awkward.”

A bizarre reaction from a man who police say has been nabbed by Lorain officers plenty of times before, and is known for one thing, according to Detective Jeremy Gray, “He’s a well know thief in Lorain.”

Berberick’s rap sheet from Lorain shows he’s been arrested at least one dozen times for theft since 2019, and several of the arrests are just two days apart. Meaning Berberick was back out on the street to allegedly commit the same crime.

“Usually petty theft. What he’ll do is go into Walmart, Home Depot, or Meijer’s. He’ll take a whole cart of the most expensive things he can grab, and he just pushes right out. And at times when they have tried to stop him or stood in the way – he pushes the employees out of the way, that’s where the robbery charge comes from,” Detective Gray said.

But police feel this serial shoplifter, who they say has hit nearly every store in the area, including stores in neighboring communities, needs a longer stay in jail to get the message.

To be fair, I did reach out to Lorain Municipal Court for a response about the concerns of Lorain Police. I was told no one was available at the time, but my information would be forwarded to a judge.

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