Citizens help Cleveland Police chase down & arrest robbery suspect

Citizens help Cleveland Police chase down & arrest robbery suspect
West side market. (Source: WOIO)
West side market. (Source: WOIO)

Cleveland Police took to Facebook to share a story of community members and officers working together to nab a robbery suspect.

The story starts with the report of a male robbed of his iPhone on the west side of Cleveland, just before 11 a.m. on Friday, August 29.

According to police, Ohio City resident Christopher Ryba was standing on the sidewalk outside the Westside Market talking on his cell phone when the suspect, 21-year-old Dejour Crawford, of Cleveland, rode by on a bike and snatched Ryba's cell phone.

Crawford took of on the bike headed southbound across the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge.

That's when several citizens who witnessed what had just happened got involved.

One of those citizens was a 17-year-old St. Ignatius High School senior, Alex Forcht, who just happened to be returning to the school from the St. Ignatius Mass at St. John's Cathedral in downtown Cleveland.

Forcht followed the suspect in his car while Ryba gave chase on foot and an another unidentified male gave chase on a bicycle.

When Crawford noticed that he was being chased and would unlikely get away, he discarded the victim's phone and continued to flee.

Forcht got out of his car, picked up the phone and returned it to Ryba and Second District Detective David Santiago, who was working off duty, as security to the Westside Market.

Detective Santiago, who was on foot, then took possession of a motorized, city owned garbage collection cart at the Market and moved to gather suspect information from the victim and witness.

While in route to speak with Ryba, Santiago notified on-duty Westside Market beat officer, Gerson Martinez, who immediately got involved.

After Crawford's description was broadcast over the air, K-9 Officer Paul Frock spotted the him on Woodland Ave. near E.30.

Officer Fronckowiak detained Crawford until Detective Santiago and Officer Martinez arrived with the victim, who provided officers a positive identification.

Crawford was then placed under arrest and booked into the city's jail on one count of robbery. He was formally charged with robbery Saturday morning.

Cleveland Police say this a wonderful example of the good that can come out of the collaboration between dedicated police officers and an engaged citizenry.

Officers would like to thank Forcht, who they say risked his own safety to pursue the robbery suspect and for also recovering the stolen cell phone.

A "Thank you" is also sent out to the unidentified female who alerted Detective Santiago to the robbery and to the unidentified male who pursued the suspect on his bicycle.

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