NORTH RIDGEVILLE — A quick-thinking resident helped police capture a teen suspected of a house break-in Monday that saw a local school locked down for about an hour as police hunted for other suspects who took off in a car.
Liberty Elementary School was placed on lockdown about 11 a.m. Monday after police contacted school officials to tell them they were hunting for suspects from a burglary in the general area.
Police Capt. Marti Garrow credited “a very smart, alert resident” with helping police nab one of the suspected burglars. The other two suspects were captured later that afternoon.
Three other juveniles, 14, 16 and 17, all from Elyria were caught Monday night. One was detained on an outstanding warrant, and the other two were released to their parents. Police would not confirm or deny if today’s burglary was related to others in the area.
“It’s too early to say,” Garror said. “They’re possibly related to other daytime burglaries that have happened around the same time frame.”
Monday’s episode began about 11 a.m. when two males walked up to the home of a Laurel Circle resident and said they were looking for a person whose name they gave.
After being told the person lived next door, the resident kept watching the males who walked past the house they were told to go to.
“This person was suspicious and kept an eye on them as they went right by the house that was pointed out to them,” Garrow said. “The resident called us right away and gave directions the men were going in. They did what they were supposed to do. If someone sees anything suspicious, call us, give as much of a description as you can, and we’ll take it from there.”
Officers responding a few minutes later spotted a suspicious-looking vehicle on Mildred Avenue, which is located off state Route 83 a short distance north of Center Ridge Road.
As a cruiser passed the suspect vehicle and turned around to follow it, the vehicle sped away.
“That’s when the chase was on,” Garrow said.
A few minutes later, two males jumped from the car on Rosebelle Avenue and the car continued on, according to police.
“One ran east and the other ran west,” Garrow said.
By that time, some 10 police officers were in the area and had established a perimeter within which they hoped to contain the suspects, Garrow said.
One of the suspects who ran, a 17-year-old from Elyria, was caught a short time later on Rosebelle, Garrow said.
Police located the vehicle shortly thereafter and found a TV and other electronics in it that were taken during a break-in, Garrow said.
The 17-year-old had not been charged pending completion of Monday’s search and questioning by police, Garrow said.
The other two suspects were captured Monday afternoon.
Superintendent Larry Brown said the Jaycox Road school was placed on full lockdown initially, but later was reduced simply to keeping the students inside the building.
The school experienced another lockdown in February as police searched for a suspect from a nearby house break-in. It is not known whether that incident was related to the recent round of break-ins.
Garrow said the city is experiencing a record number of home burglaries this year.
“We’ve had in excess of 50 to 60 and that’s a lot for us this time of year,” Garrow said.
The break-ins have occurred all over town, he added.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or email@example.com.