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Beware holiday thefts, scams

Emil Whitis • Dec 11, 2012 at 5:26 AM

While business is booming along Milan Road in Perkins Township, the retail center in the Register’s four-county region, so is theft.

From Black Friday to Dec. 5, Perkins police investigated 33 thefts.

Among the items stolen: $4,050 from an ice cream store; 150 wooden pallets; 30 boxes of pork; five Peanuts Christmas ornaments; three sets of throwing knives; a motor scooter; an iPhone; and an undisclosed amount of money from a fast food restaurant’s safe.

“Unfortunately, every year we see an increase in thefts towards the holidays,” Perkins police Chief Ken Klamar said.

The uptick in thefts seems to be an unavoidable seasonal trend, although Klamar said there are some ways people can cut their chances of becoming a victim. It’s not rocket science, either. Too often, people get in a rush or simply neglect to take practical precautions.

“It’s important to hide your valuables and lock your doors.” Klamar said. “The harder it is to steal,the less likely a thief will take the risk. Obviously there’s more risk of being caught if they have to break down a door or shatter a window to get inside.”

   Thefts happen all over at this time of year, but the Milan Road is typically the epicenter — the Sandusky Mall and large chain stores, such as Walmart and Meijer, present unique opportunities to would-be thieves targeting parked cars.

“When people that want to steal see 500 cars in the parking lot, they see more places to hide and more property in one location,” Klamar said.

In the 13-day stretch from Nov. 23 to Dec. 3, there were seven thefts reported at Sandusky Mall properties. That accounted for a little more than 20 percent of all thefts in that period.

Walmart and Meijer tallied three apiece.

Of the 33 thefts, 12 were at retail stores, while five were from vehicles.

Only one shoplifter of 12 got away. Thieves who targeted vehicles were never caught.

Bellevue police have also been fighting a rash of commercial burglaries. BusinesseshitthereincludeGreat Lakes Packing; Bierkeller Pub; Bellevue Meats; the Bellevue VFW; Gildemeister Motor Co.; and Dedinger’s car wash.

Anyone with information can call Bellevue police Detective Eric Burt at 419-484-5525.

The Ohio Attorney General’s office also warned Ohioans to be on guard against scammers at this time of year, particularly people who call and ask for donations to charities.

Residents should determine in advance which charities they’re interested in supporting.

The Attorney General’s office offers an online registration of charities at ohioattorneygeneral.gov/ charitablesearch.

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