Hollywood-style heist: crooks steal $200,000 in equipment from stores in Willoughby and Westlake

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 10:53 PM EDT
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WILLOUGHBY, Ohio (WOIO) - Police believe a pair of elaborate heists in Willoughby and Westlake are connected after a group of thieves managed to break into two separate businesses, stealing up to $200,000 worth of computer hardware.

They used saws and grinders to cut holes in the roof, before dropping into the rooms where the expensive equipment was being stored.

“One of the detectives on scene made the comment that it was like something out of a movie,” said Det. Lt. John Begovic with the Willoughby Police Department.

NOTE: At the request of police, a suspect’s face was concealed in the video featured in this story.

The crooks managed to break into Mentor Electronics in Willoughby around 10:30 p.m. on April 16. They stole between $100,000 and $200,000 worth of materials there, Begovic told 19 News.

On its website, the business refers to itself as a computer and computer component supplier.

Two hours earlier, a similar business, Freedom Wireless, was hit in Westlake.

Captain Gerald Vogel of the Westlake Police Department told 19 News thousands of dollars in computer chips were stolen there.

Begovic said it appears the same vehicle was spotted outside each facility; investigators believe the same group targeted both facilities.

“The parties involved in this definitely... they did their homework on this,” he said, when asked what type of knowledge the thieves might have had about the buildings and materials inside.

He specifically said police do not believe it was an inside job, however.

In both cases, one of the men managed to disable to surveillance cameras shortly after making entry.

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