Lake County sheriff warns residents to be on alert after series of armed carjackings

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PAINESVILLE, Ohio (WJW) — The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents to be on alert after a number of armed carjackings.

“Back on September 18th, we put out a warning that people were coming into our neighborhoods and stealing cars,” said Sheriff Frank Leonbruno.

According to Leonbruno, it’s happening again and this time around, the thefts are becoming increasingly dangerous.

“A woman arrived very early for work at Laketran. She was walking across the parking lot and saw three males. After she passed them, they assaulted her and demanded her car keys,” said Leonbruno.

Deputies are investigating that incident that happened early Tuesday morning on Lakeshore Boulevard in Grand River.

Then a second incident happened Wednesday on Greenfield Lane in Painesville.

“This time it happened in a new development. Two males brandishing guns approached somebody and demanded his car,” said Leonbruno.

Leonbruno says the car was later spotted on Route 2 heading towards the city.

One man was taken into custody, another is still on the run.

“It’s not only Lake County, but other police departments are dealing with this. But my concern is this is becoming more violent and more dangerous,” said Leonbruno.

Leonbruno says both victims were not seriously hurt.

However, he believes the incidents are tied to a theft ring in the greater Cleveland area where thieves are targeting people who leave their car doors unlocked.

“They are younger and it seems like they feel they have nothing to lose,” said Leonbruno.

Leonbruno says these groups are going into the suburbs, looking for open cars with keys inside.

In some cases, they are looking for garage door openers so they can steal from homes.

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