AVON LAKE - A rash of car break-ins and burglaries, culminating in a high-speed police chase early Friday morning, has people on edge in what are usually quiet bedroom communities.
"I think it's probably a wake-up call," says Terry Nickolette of Avon Lake.
Four cars have been stolen from Avon Lake alone recently, according to police, with three of them recovered so far.
The thefts and break-ins are believed to be related to a series of similar incidents in neighboring Bay Village.
And, over the weekend, Avon authorities reported three car break-ins in one neighborhood, although they are not sure if those are connected to the incidents in Avon Lake and Bay Village.
Early Friday morning, an Avon Lake police officer tried to stop a car along Lake Road for a traffic violation.
The car, which turned out to be stolen, took off, and a chase ensued that topped 90 miles an hour on a road that has speed limits between 25 and 35 miles an hour.
The officer broke off the chase near the Lorain border because of the high speeds.
Lorain police later found the car near Kansas Avenue. The suspects fled on foot and escaped.
"It was really shocking," says Kelley Bennett, who just moved into the neighborhood in March with her family.
Avon Lake police note that all four of the car thefts were crimes of opportunity.
They say in each case, the owners of the car left their keys or garage door openers, or both, in plain view.
Police are reminding everyone to secure both their vehicles and their property before going to bed each night.