The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

March 9, 2010

Jewel thief hits Kmart on three straight days

ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — The third time was definitely not a charm for a suspected jewel thief who reportedly plagued the Super Kmart store in Ashtabula Township last week, according to Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department deputies.

Joseph P. Serrano, 25, of Printer, Ky., was arrested in the store Thursday afternoon after attempting a third straight day of jewelry heists during business hours, according to reports. Deputies charged Serrano with felony theft and possessing criminal tools, identified as a wire coat hanger.

On Wednesday, deputies were contacted by store security about nearly two dozens items of jewelry believed taken from a display case placed on a counter. The missing merchandise was valued at $1,515, deputies said.

Surveillance video showed a man examining the case, spinning it and tipping it on its side, then using a tool to remove items that had fallen to the bottom of the case. The man put the items in a pocket and left the store, according to reports. Deputies were told they believe the man had struck on March 2 and Wednesday, deputies were told.

On Thursday, around 2:22 p.m., deputies learned the suspect had returned to the jewelry department a third consecutive day. Deputies intercepted the man as he was walking through the store, and found $499 worth of earrings in a pocket, according to reports. He was also carrying a bent, wire coat hanger, deputies said.

A store employee witnessed Serrano was seen removing items from the case on Thursday.

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