The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 28, 2013

Cell phone gang hits two Ashtabula County stores in span of one hour

Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — A fast-moving gang of men took expensive cellular telephones from two stores along Route 20 in little more than an hour’s time earlier this week, according to the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies are looking for a Cleveland man who reportedly provided accurate identification to a clerk while trying to be a distraction, according to a report.

The first theft was reported around 6:45 p.m. Monday at the Verizon Wireless store at the Ashtabula Towne Square in Ashtabula Township, deputies said. Three people entered the store and took a $700 phone from a display before fleeing, according to a report.

One hour later, deputies were contacted about a similar theft at a Verizon store on West Prospect Road in Saybrook Township. A handful of people entered the store, and one person positioned himself in front of a clerk to block the view of the man’s companions. Two demonstrator phones were physically ripped out of their moorings and stolen, deputies said. The gang left in a vehicle, according to a report.

At one location, a man approached a clerk and inquired about a contract plan, according to a report. He presented photo identification that indicated he was a Cleveland resident. Deputies plan to seek pursue grand theft charges against the individual, according to a report.