STRONGSVILLE- Employees at local phone stores have been on high alert after a series of violent robberies, but a group of suspects has been arrested, thanks to some great police work and the long reach of modern technology.
Surveillance video obtained by Fox 8 News shows how employees at the AT&T Store on Royalton Road in Strongsville, were terrorized by a group of masked gunmen that barged into the store and forced the workers into an office. They then ordered a manager into a room, where the store's safe and inventory of phones are kept.
The terrified employee opened the safe, while the suspects grabbed all of the phones from a shelf. Employees told a 911 dispatcher that the gunmen seemed to know the layout and business practices at the store and carried out the crime with precision. "At first they had us on the floor, then they took us into the office and they had us all lay down in the office, they took one of the guys into the inventory room to give them the phones," said one frightened worker.
Investigators say the hold up in Strongsville is similar to a series of robberies at phone stores across greater Cleveland in recent weeks, including one on May 8 at the AT&T Store on Brookpark Road in Brooklyn.
The suspects fled in a getaway car, and it turns out the same technology that they took from the store helped police find them. A Brooklyn police report indicates that the robbers stole a GPS tracking device, and as a result, investigators were able to track the getaway car to a neighborhood in Garfield Heights, where they arrested 19-year-old Le'ondre Tucker and three juveniles. Police are now trying to determine how many of the phone store robberies the suspects are responsible for.
During a search of a home where some of the suspects were hiding, police found several loaded guns, and a large number of phones taken from the AT&T stores. Before the suspects were done- in by modern technology, employees victimized during the robberies, say the gunmen seemed to know what they were doing.
One worker told a 911 dispatcher, "they told us to get on the ground, we got on the ground, and they like literally took us to the safe and then they took one of the guys to the safe, they took all of the money took everything out, they took every phone we had, everything, they took everything.”
It has been a bad couple of weeks, for the bandits that have been targeting the phone stores. On April 23rd, four people involved in a hold-up at the AT&T Store in Steelyard Commons were arrested after a pursuit by Cleveland police.