CLEVELAND — Five men are behind bars accused of two murders and at least a dozen violent robberies. Prosecutors say this may be just a small part of a larger crime spree.
Cuyahoga County prosecutors say the five men have now been indicted in a series of violent robberies at Cleveland convenience stores in recent months, including two which turned deadly.
“Hopefully, justice will be served right. Just get them, like, life or something so they can be, like, an example to somebody else,” said Ayed Kalan, owner of the Yaya Market.
Duane Jacobs, 57, was shot and killed in September during a robbery at the Yaya Market on Union Avenue.
“He was a good friend of mine and I don’t think he deserved to die like that. He left family and then we had to throw a fundraiser to bury him. It was a sad affair, he was a good guy and everybody misses him,” said customer Mark Small.
“He took somebody from us. He might not have meant nothing to you, but he meant something to us. It is not a day that don’t go by that this man doesn’t cross my mind, it was senseless,” said fellow clerk Delilah Turner.
Investigators say the men are responsible for about a dozen violent robberies that they know of and they say there could be many more.
Investigators also connect them to a deadly robbery in October at the Union Beverage store near East 124th and Union.
Sean Stewart, 33, was killed.
“We started looking into it and saw that more robberies were connecting to this case, including another homicide and we were able to get together with the detectives from these different cases and see that these cases connected to one another,” said assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor Mahmoud Awadallah.
Prosecutors say they first connected Darrell Coleman, 24, and Steven Mongo, 25, to the robbery and murder and the Yaya Market. They say further investigation led them to Demario Lane, 21, Torrance Johnson, 26, and Damon Peterson, 26.
“Depending on the day, the robbery, the event, there could be two, there could be three individuals, the one constant is that Darrell Coleman is involved in each and every robbery and homicide,” said assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor Andrew Santoli.
Prosecutors say the men may be connected to more robberies in the area and more people could be arrested.