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Valentine to widen vehicle-entry investigation

April 24, 2012

FRANKLIN SQUARE - Wanting an action plan to combat a recent outbreak of vehicle enterings, Salem Township Constable Dan Valentine said he will be contacting the sheriff's office, Columbiana city police and Goshen (Green) Township police.

Those areas have generated the most reports.

"We're just at the beginning (of the investigation)," he said Monday, "I'll contact them and we can share information."

Last week, Valentine received eight vehicle-entry complaints from Lisbon-Canfield Road residents between the 3200 to 5200 blocks, a stretch of road more than a mile-and-a-half long.

There was also one report from the 3100 block of West Street in Leetonia and on Lodge Road.

"I know there were way more than that," Valentine said last week after other areas including Green Township and Columbiana were hit.

Last Tuesday, Goshen Township Police Chief Steve McDaniel advised Green Township trustees there are pictures which only identify the suspects as males in their early 20s.

Goshen Township provides police protection to Green Township.

McDaniel said the photos came from deer cameras but he said it looked like they moved on to Smith Township and Columbiana County, particularly the city of Columbiana, that was hit hard.

He said they drop people off and 90 percent of the cars entered are unlocked.

Valentine said he has developed a couple of tips which he attributed to press coverage but added, "It's just a start. I'll be in contact with Columbiana Police Chief Tim Gladis and sheriff's Detective Sgt. Jeff Haugh and pass the information along."

He added, "I've been getting a lot of residents calling to report suspicious activity. Cars driving slowly past. People are being more alert and letting us check it out.

"I think it may be the weather was nice and brought more people out who started to notice suspicious activity more."

Valentine noted that while he's received no more vehicle-entry reports and has no solid leads, he's aware the vehicle enterings continue in other nearby areas.

"They go from car to car at night and are real selective," McDaniel said, adding they are focusing on credit cards and electronic gadgets.

Last week, two purses were located in a ditch in a couple of properties down from where the owner lived, Valentine said and at Witmer's, on state Route 14, an employee found a purse in a ditch while mowing.

Valentine said all vehicles entered were unlocked and at least two people are involved.

"One person, I highly doubt it," he said, explaining one person gets dropped off and the driver moves on to an intersection to turn around.

They select vehicles parked in short driveways.

"Most of the ones they're hitting, the drives aren't real long," he said.

"So a guy hits three or four cars and gets picked up."

When they're finished, the thieves leave the door ajar, sometimes leaving interior lights on, an almost sure sign a vehicle has been entered along with an open glovebox.

Valentine said that if people see, hear or suspect anything to call him right away (330-427-0808).

Larry Shields can be reached at



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