Salem Twp. constable tells residents to lock cars to deter thieves

FRANKLIN SQUARE – They’re probably hitting the area around two, three or four in the morning, Salem Twp. Constable Dan Valentine said after receiving resident calls regarding another wave of vehicle enterings on Tuesday.

Valentine said residents are frustrated and so is he.

During last week’s trustee meeting, Valentine reported break-ins on the rise because of the warming weather.

He noted Leetonia, Springfield and Beaver townships had been getting hit too.

Residents have called reporting doors ajar, glove boxes and consoles rifled with “paperwork thrown about,” Valentine said, adding they are probably looking for loose change.

Valentine said nothing was reported missing from the overnight activity.

He told trustees last week, “A lot of it’s drug activity, people who can’t keep a job and hit four or five vehicles to get them through to the next day.”

“I’m not sure how many reports the sheriff had,” he said, explaining some people don’t find out about it until going to work in the morning.

The Columbiana County sheriff reported a vehicle was entered on Lisbon-Canfield Road in Leetonia early Tuesday morning. That complainant said it was the third time one of her vehicles was entered and about $30 in change was taken in Tuesday’s theft.

Most of the break-ins were south on state Route 558 and Lisbon-Canfield Road “within the general area of Franklin Square, that little area there,” Valentine said.

“Not one vehicle, that I’m aware of, was locked,” Valentine said and suggested the rash of activity is connected to the Leetonia church break-ins.

Leetonia’s St. Patrick Catholic Church has been the target of a least three break-ins in the past couple of months, the most recent on April 6.

“I think it’s all tied together,” Valentine said.

Asked about a time, Valentine said, “If I had to guess, two to three a.m.”

He suggested residents act as soon as possible if they observe or hear anything suspicious.

“People call a day or two later,” he said, “saying, ‘I got up at 1 a.m. and saw someone in the backyard.’

He said if residents hear anything, dogs barking, anything to call him at once at 330-427-0808.

“It’s frustrating,” he said.

Larry Shields can be reached at