Theft Ring Suspects Released From Jail

Theft Ring Bust

Five people accused of being involved in a theft ring accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of landscaping and lawn care equipment from businesses across northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania were released from the Mahoning County Jail on Tuesday.

Ohio State Highway Patrol investigators said Tuesday the five were released from jail because, after consulting with the Youngstown prosecutor’s office, they opted to seek an indictment through a Mahoning County grand jury.

The grand jury meets on Thursdays and police can only hold suspects without filing charges for 48 hours.

The five were arrested early Monday and held in the Mahoning County Jail after federal agents and state and local police surrounded the home at 421 W. LaClede Ave.

Investigators believe burglaries in Cuyahoga, Stark, Trumbull and Mahoning counties in Ohio and several in western Pennsylvania are all connected.

OSHP troopers said they intended on filing charges Tuesday but changed course after consulting with Youngstown prosecutors.

OSHP said they found 105 stolen items, including vehicles, lawn mowers, lawn care equipment, flatbeds, enclosed trailers and tools at the home.

OSHP Sgt. Ronald P. Schneider said his investigative unit is interviewing more suspects and chasing down more leads.

State troopers became involved in the investigation Feb. 26 after Hubbard Township police asked for assistance in tracking stolen items, reports said. The Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office has also been investigating, along with police in Boardman, Jackson Township, Howland, Youngstown Police Department and members of the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force and Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators said one of the burglaries the group committed involved breaking into an Olmsted Falls landscaping business and stealing $200,000 worth of equipment.

An Olmsted Falls police report taken early Monday said Smart Scape Landscaping owners reported their building was broken into Sunday. Smart Scape equipment was recovered at the W. LaClede 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.

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