LIMA — Six adults and two juveniles face felony charges, accused of breaking into at least 61 mobile-phone stores in three states.
The break-ins in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky stretched around the state including Celina, Findlay, Sidney, Wapakoneta and Van Wert. The suspects, all from the Dayton area, operated in two separate but related groups. They are accused of “smash and grab” crimes between April 2012 and January 2014, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a written statement.
They typically targeted Verizon Wireless businesses, and authorities said they believe they stole more than $300,000 in electronics such as Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy devices. They turned around and sold the items to buy clothing and pay for hotel rooms, DeWine said.
The two groups of people have been charged as separate criminal organizations. DeWine said both groups carried out the crimes in the same way.
Charged were Lamar Caviness, 18; Gary Pullen, 34; Antone Jackson, 18; Duane Taylor, 20; Michael Roberson, 19; and Kevin Snowden, 18; all of Dayton. The numerous charges filed against each are all theft related. DeWine said he also expected at least one more person to be charged.
Local cases that authorities believe were connected to the gang included:
•The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office investigated a Dec. 27 incident at Verizon Wireless at 2011 Tiffin Ave., Findlay.
•The Van Wert Police Department investigated a Dec. 29 incident at Verizon Wireless at 1200 S. Shannon St., Van Wert.
•The Celina Police Department investigated a Dec. 29 incident at R&G Sound/Verizon Wireless at 1701 Industrial Dr., Celina.
•The Wapakoneta Police Department investigated a Dec. 29 incident at 310 Perry St., Wapakoneta.
•The Sidney Police Department investigated a Dec. 29 incident at Area Wireless at 2262 Michigan St., Sidney.