Local businessman turns to I-Team after car lot is hit by thieves several times

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A local businessman found himself mad at the bad guys: the crooks, and frustrated with the good guys: the police. So, he turned to the FOX 8 I TEAM.

We are talking about the man behind Big Joes Auto Sales at West 51st and Detroit in Cleveland.

Since last week the cars in the lot have been hit again and again by thieves smashing windows and stealing valuables from inside the vehicles.

Mike Denning says last week he called Cleveland Police, and they came out, but they had to leave in a hurry for an emergency call. After that, silence. Denning said, "We made one police report. Cops never came back out to look at the video. Never heard nothing again.”

So what happened after that first call to police last week? The I TEAM filed a records request, and we were told there wasn't even a report filed. So we contacted the chief's office. Didn't take long before a patrol car rolled back up at the scene.

Cleveland Police say the patrolman went out Thursday after another call from the business, but Denning says he had made that call hours earlier. Police also say a report was written after the first incident. However, it was titled only Criminal Damaging, and it was not forwarded to detectives.

This time, the officer said he couldn’t speak to the I TEAM, but he did say he was making the report a felony. That means it now should be investigated by detectives.

Denning had lost patience, saying, “My tax dollars, I mean where are they going?
In my cameras, I have no cops, no cops driving by all night long sometimes.” He added, he understands police have bigger crimes to handle. But for a small business, this kind of crime can be critical. “To me, it is huge because, I mean, every day we've gotta be worrying who's gonna be breaking into our cars next?” Denning said.

Meantime, the I TEAM found another car lot nearby recently hit by thieves the same way.