Surveillance camera catches car-smashing criminals

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Columbus police are investigating a series of smash and grab car break-ins the Victorian Village and Italian Village neighborhoods, near the popular Short North district.

Since early December, police have investigated dozens of theft reports. Now, investigators may have a new lead in the case.

Kelvin, who asked CrimeTracker 10 not to use his last name, lives on Chittenden Avenue. It's about two miles north of the neighborhoods targeted by smash and grab thieves.

Calvin said on Wednesday, January 9, he discovered someone targeted his vehicle parked inside a garage at his apartment complex.

"Completely shattered the entire window," said Kelvin. "I was just shocked and very taken aback. I'm like, wow, here's a camera right here and somebody was just bold enough to break my window.."

A surveillance camera positioned just feet from Kelvin's car captured video of one suspect using a tool in an attempt to pry the window open, before it shattered.

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A second suspect who took the time to put on a pair of surgical type gloves but made no attempt to cover his face is also caught on camera.

Kelvin said he diligently empties out his car every night, but even though the suspects didn't find anything worth stealing, Kelvin said the crime still cost him.

"They cost me $500 out of my pocket for the insurance deductible to fix my window," said Kelvin.

Between December 4, 2018, and January 5, 2019, Columbus police investigated 33 reports of theft from a motor vehicle in Victorian and Italian Villages.

The Columbus Division of Police said a zone investigator is looking into the series of crimes in hopes of identifying the culprits. Police have no way of knowing if the suspects caught on camera on Chittenden Avenue are responsible for the other smash and grabs, but Kelvin is hopeful the surveillance images will give police a fresh lead, and give him a sense of justice.

"I'm working two jobs currently trying to pay bills trying to pay rent and bills on time and here I am trying to come up with $500 out of pocket," said Kelvin. "I definitely feel violated. I definitely feel like I was wronged for no reason."

Anyone with information about the thefts from motor vehicles in the areas of Italian and Victorian Villages, or who recognizes the suspects in the surveillance video, is asked to contact police investigators at 614-645-1425.