AKRON, Ohio – Investigators with the Summit County sheriff’s office are trying to find the rightful owners to boxes of electronic equipment they confiscated as a result of a lengthy investigation into what they describe as a ‘theft ring.'
The devices include game consoles, digital cameras, laptops, GPS units, iPads, iPods and more.
“Most of the merchandise that was stolen, it was stolen either from cars, homes or garages, and most of it included electronics. There were a few other items, golf clubs and some masks, but mostly electronics,” explained Summit County Sheriff’s Office Inspector Bill Holland.
The equipment was taking up fifteen boxes in the sheriff’s office property room.
Holland said it was all stolen from communities south of Akron including Coventry, Green, Springfield and New Franklin.
Three people were under arrest including two teenagers, both 17.
Ryan Norton, 19, of New Franklin is charged with burglary, theft and breaking and entering.
Holland said additional arrests are expected as the investigation continues.
“Many of these items were re-sold in the area. A search warrant was conducted last week at the ‘Game Surge’ located on South Main Street in Coventry Twp.,” said Holland. “Quite a bit of stolen property was recovered there. Some of it has since been returned to the owners, some of the owners we can’t identify and that’s kind of where we are looking for help right now."
No one was at the Game Surge when Fox 8 stopped there to discuss the transactions on Wednesday afternoon.
Among the concerns for investigators now, however, is trying to locate the lawful owners of the many electronic items they have in their possession.
“There could be hundreds of victims,” said Holland. “If somebody has a serial number, if somebody has been the victim of a car break-in or a burglary and electronics were stolen in this area they definitely should give our office a call but they have to have a serial number or some identifying marking that can identify that particular item as theirs.”
Holland said for owners of the cameras they confiscated there might still be photographs on the cameras that can help identify the owners.
To try to prevent such thefts, Holland said the Summit County sheriff’s office is trying to be assertive about cracking down on known “fences,” or people who are knowingly buying stolen merchandise. There were no such charges pending in this case as of Wednesday afternoon.
Holland said everyone can help prevent themselves from becoming victims of such thefts by simply being careful with their electronics, which are coveted by thieves for their high price tag.
“Use common sense. Take these things with you if at all possible but if not, keep them out of sight,” said Holland.