UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — The recent rash of car thefts in northeast Ohio has led Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan and Police Chief Dustin Rogers to ask residents to do a couple of simple things — don’t leave the key in the vehicle when it is parked, and keep it locked.
Rogers released Monday, during City Council’s online meeting, a statement from UHPD Det. Ben Feltoon pertaining to the thefts. Feltoon noted that, since mid-September, University Heights has experienced 13 vehicle thefts from residential driveways.
Car thieves, he said, have had an easy time of it while committing their crimes.
“The suspects that have been caught laugh about how easy people make it for them to be able to steal their car,” Feltoon wrote. “To date, 100 percent of the cars stolen recently in University Heights have been left unlocked and had the keys in the vehicle. This makes it extremely easy for criminals to steal from you.
“Please, please, please lock your cars,” the detective advised. “Even in your driveway. Even if you were just running in the house for a minute. Even if you have nothing in the car worth taking. Remove valuables, firearms, and car keys when you are not in the car. We need to stop giving these criminals the opportunity to victimize our community.”
Ten of the 13 cars stolen from University Heights have been recovered, Feltoon added.
“On our end,” Rogers told council members during Monday’s meeting, “we’ve been increasing our patrols, utilizing uniformed and plain clothes resources in the field to try to deter and intercept those that are (committing) these crimes, but is difficult for us to do to and be successful alone as an agency. We need to collaborate with the community, express to residents that when they hear something or see something suspicious to call the police department right away.
“To further enhance the communication and the awareness of this, our police department and office of community policing is collaborating with the office of the mayor to put out a mailer to our residents,” Rogers said. “More information will be forthcoming.”
As part of his daily COVID-19 email update on Nov. 12, Brennan wrote, “To be absolutely clear, we are not trying to ‘blame the victim.’ We are instead asking residents to help stop this crime spree.
“Do not make it easy for thieves. Please do not leave your keys in your car. Always lock your car. And do not keep valuables in sight of potential thieves.”
The UHPD dispatch center can be contacted at 216-932-1800, and 911 can be used for any situation that requires an immediate response from officers.
During Monday’s meeting, it was mentioned that the popular Jack’s Deli & Restaurant, 14490 Cedar Road, would be temporarily closing for two weeks. On the eatery’s Facebook page, it is stated that Jack’s closed after an employee tested positive for the virus. Jack’s plans to reopen on Nov. 27.
“I imagine we’ll be seeing more of that in the area,” said Brennan, who added that Nighttown in Cleveland Heights will also be temporarily closing.
Property for sale
Economic Development Director Susan Drucker told council that the former Temple Emmanuel building, 2200 Green Road, owned in recent years by John Carroll University as part of its annex, has been put up for sale by the university. Drucker said that the property, which was made available for purchase a couple of weeks ago, is zoned U-4, a multi-family residential classification. She said that a broker, Allegro Realty, is marketing the property.
In addition, Councilwoman Saundra Berry asked Drucker about the status of the long vacant former KFC building on the east side of South Taylor Road, north of Cedar Road. Drucker said that the owner is still trying to lease or sell the property and that she has received calls of interest about the site, but that, so far, no deal has been reached with the owner.
Drucker also said that the owner has taken out a permit to upgrade the parking lot, but has not picked up the permit from city hall.
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