Four City Theft Ring Busted By Police
Columbus police are zeroing in on a theft ring with suspects accused of targeting people in four cities in two Central Ohio counties.
Those cities include Hilliard, Dublin, Marysville and parts of northwest Columbus.
Police say the common thread with the thefts is heroin addiction. They say addicts are stealing to supply their habit.
Police say they see this spike in crime and they hope these latest arrests will help bring those numbers down.
Columbus police say it all started with a traffic stop and the arrest of 24-year-old Clarissa Daniels.
In her car, detectives say they found a syringe, a BB gun, and 10 personal checks that didn't belong to her.
"The checks were made out to her. She was charged with forgery, with the intent to cash those checks," said Columbus Police Sergeant Keith Kline.
Checks totaling more than $2,000 in value were traced to a number of people living in northwest Columbus.
"Most of them are vehicle break-ins and they're crimes of opportunity," said Sgt. Kline.
One Columbus homeowner says the thieves got in through an open garage door and an unlocked car. He says the thieves got his checkbook, his gift cards, and a watch. He tells 10TV he now realizes it was preventable had his garage door been shut.
According to a Dublin police report, another homeowner only realized her checkbook was missing and checks were cashed, after police stopped Daniels in Columbus.
Days after Daniels' arrest, police arrested her boyfriend, Shain Griffus and Timothy Scott for stealing from a Wal-Mart on Bethel Road.
All three are now connected to the theft ring, along with two others, who are not yet charged.
"It's amazing how many of these people leave checks, wallets in a car that's locked or unlocked in a driveway, and most people like to feel safe in their own environment, but they're not," said Sgt. Kline.
Daniels was charged with nearly two dozen counts, including forgery, possession of criminal tools, and receiving stolen property.
Detectives say they're still collecting more evidence to charge others in this case.
Police say to deter criminals from targeting your home and car by keeping your garage door shut, locking your car doors, leaving a light on inside your home when you are gone and leave an outside light on as well. Also, make sure you leave nothing of value exposed.