Youngstown police investigating rash of business break-ins

Mahoning Avenue breakins in Youngstown, Ohio


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown police are investigating break-ins at businesses along Mahoning Avenue on the west side.

Our station obtained surveillance video of one of the incidents, which police are calling “smash and grabs.”

Don Phillips, owner of the building that houses Alternative Smokes, 3400 Mahoning Ave., said the suspects threw a big piece of concrete through the front door of the business around 5 a.m. on Friday. He said the suspects stole $2,500 worth of merchandise and were inside for less than a minute.

He said they knew what they were looking for and only took high-end merchandise, such as vapor kits.

“They knew exactly what they were coming after, 100 percent,” Phillips said.

But they left behind some clues.

“Right now, we have a ton of DNA. We’ve got fingerprints. We’re just trying to put the person to the fingerprints,” Youngstown Police Det. Sgt. Michael Kawa said.

Alternative Smokes is one of eight businesses police say suspects broke into along Mahoning Avenue between 1 and 5 a.m. over the past month. Phillips’ wife owns Periscope and said video surveillance showed the suspects inside for about a half hour before taking off.

“They got liquor and food, lottery tickets. But they have not been cashed yet,” Phillips said.

Kawa is asking business owners and residents to keep an eye out, especially during the overnight hours. Phillips said he is out looking and working with police to help catch the suspects.

“Police presence has been big over here. I mean, I can’t drive a street, any street, without seeing a cop. So they have really stepped it up. How we are missing them, I will never know,” he said.

Police plan to offer a reward for any information that leads to an arrest.

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