Ralph Marinacci, owner of Ralph’s Auto Sales, told News Center 7’s Jessiaca Heffner he knows who had the keys. He said he’ll be putting thicker chains around the gates of the fences surrounding his vehicle lots to keep thieves out.
“I was thinking I’m going to get around six German Shepherds and keep them out on the lot,” Marinacci said.
Police in Springfield are investigating a sting of break-ins at local businesses all involving someone backing their vehicle into store-front windows to gain entry.
On May 30, the Aaron’s store at 2425 E. Main St. and the Cash & Carry Food Mart at 1910 Mitchell Blvd. were broken into overnight. Aaron’s was robbed in a similar manner a week before.
Cash & Carry Food Mart owner Nick Patel said surveillance footage showed someone backed their vehicle into the business, breaking the front windows and doors. He said it looked like the suspect attempted to steal the ATM machine.
A witness told police she observed a large green truck back into the business and saw a male wearing a ball cap leave the store and get in the truck.
Springfield Detective Perry Roeser told News Center 7 that police believe the May 30 incident is connected to four recent break-ins and they are working with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office to find the suspect.
The string of crimes began May 9 when Gunsmoke Firearms, 3674 E. National Road, was robbed by a masked man. Police have surveillance video from that incident.
The week of May 1, the Aaron’s on East Main was robbed for the first time, along with the Butts & Barrels store on West First Street and the Rim Man Customs shop on Mitchell Boulevard.
An officer checking the area during response to the Cash & Carry investigation found that the National Trail Parks and Recreation District maintenance parking area, on Mitchell Boulevard, had also been broken into. A truck and keys were taken.
In the Aaron’s break-in, the suspect drove the stolen the parks district truck into the garage door at Aaron’s, went inside and took a 73-inch TV still in its box.
In all six incidents, police have said the suspect abandoned the stolen vehicles after the robberies.