Downtown gang of teens blamed for rash of Tri-State car thefts, police say
Several Tri-State police jurisdictions have joined the growing list of those warning about a car-theft ring.
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The list of Tri-State communities targeted by an alleged teenage theft ring out of Downtown Cincinnati continues to grow.
In the days since Warren County Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Kirby sent notice of a “ruthless” and “violent” gang stealing cars and entering houses across the Tri-State, several more police jurisdictions have taken theft reports.
Police in Sharonville, Miami Township, West Chester, Springboro, Harrison and Edgewood, Kentucky are the latest to sound the alarm.
Harrison Police Chief Charles Lindsey posted a video message on Monday, a day after he says three accused teenage thieves were caught by a resident.
“This is a gang of teenagers from Downtown Cincinnati,” Lindsey said. “They are going through all residential neighborhoods, not only in our city, but also throughout Hamilton County, Butler and Warren counties. They’re stealing cars. They’re stealing guns. They’re stealing any items left in cars, so I’m urging any residents, please keep your vehicles locked, but more importantly, do not leave any valuables inside your cars.”
Miami Township police on Wednesday said in a statement to neighborhood groups and homeowners associations that “the Greater Cincinnati crime spree” had reached the community “and numerous surrounding suburbs.”
Contrary to Kirby’s warning, Miami Township police say the suspects are not committing home invasions or armed robberies.
The Miami Township police statement continues, quoted in full:
- ”The large group of teenage suspects are from Cincinnati;
- ”Several of the suspects are in jail; however, the remaining group is at large;
- ”They drive through affluent neighborhoods looking for unlocked cars;
- “The majority of the activity is after dark;
- “They steal anything of value from unlocked cars;
- “They will use garage door openers to steal items from the garage;
- “They primarily steal luxury vehicles when keys/fobs are left inside;
- “They have stolen approximately 75 cars from Cincinnati-Centerville;
- “Many of the cars have been located and recovered in Cincinnati; and
- “When found, the keys/fobs and garage door openers are usually missing.
Said Miami Township Police Chief Mike Mills, “We enjoy a low crime rate in Miami Township. We should always keep in mind that criminals have cars, and they are free to travel. We, law enforcement, will catch them, but we need everyone’s help. Lock it! See something, say something (call 911).”
Sharonville Police Sgt. Dana Taggart expressed similar sentiments on Wednesday after a resident allegedly had a car stolen out of their driveway.
“We want everybody to know that just because your neighborhood is quiet and crime-free generally, [that doesn’t mean] it can’t become victimized, because criminals prey on that too,” Taggart said.
On Wednesday, Edgewood police reported eight car break-ins by what they believe is the same suspect over the course of 45 minutes Saturday morning.
The department urged residents to “be part of the solution” in a statement last week: “Vehicles that remain unlocked are targeted at a much higher rate than a locked vehicle. Also if your garage door remains open, even during the daytime it provides easy access into your home.”
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