FBI, Patrol and Local Police Bust Theft Ring

Five people accused in a theft ring were taken into custody early Monday on Youngstown’s South Side by local, state and federal law enforcement.

Agents surrounded the home about 7 a.m. at 412 W. LaClede Ave. Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers said the five stole multiple trailers.

The supplies were reported stolen from Smart Scapes Landscaping in Olmsted Falls, and other businesses in Trumbull and Mahoning counties, as well as in Pennsylvania, investigators said.

The FBI, Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force, and Boardman, Hubbard and Youngstown police agencies all responded to the home.

Patrol Sgt. Eric Shepperd said they’ve been investigating the theft ring for months and the investigation started with the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office. He said three stolen vehicles, two trailers and various landscaping equipment, all of which had been reported stolen, were found at the home.

Investigators are interviewing the five alleged suspects and said they will file charges. Others could be charged, Shepperd said, and more homes could be searched.

An Olmsted Falls police report taken early Monday said Smart Scape Landscaping owners reported their building was broken into and about $200,000 worth of equipment was stolen.

Officers recovered Smart Scape equipment at the West LaClede Avenue home.

The report states someone broke into the business and ransacked several rooms. The burglars, reports said, also ripped off fake surveillance cameras on the building.

Filing cabinets, drawers and closets were ransacked, reports said.

Two trucks, two trailers, three lawn mowers, laptops, cash from a safe and keys to the building and vehicles were all reported stolen, reports said.

“Our investigators and the other department, they’ve been tracking this for a while,” said OSHP Sgt. Bret Henderson.

Nearby residents said they were surprised by Monday’s raid.

“I hope it all stops,” said resident Bernard Carter. “I just hope it all stops. It’s just bad nowadays. I just hope it all stops.”

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