November 28, 2014

Elyria
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28°F
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Men arrested after alleged burglary scheme at apartment complex

LORAIN — Several men were arrested for their part in an alleged burglary and kidnapping scheme in which the men posed as employees of Lakeview Terrace Apartments.

Price

Police began investigating the incident Friday after a 58-year-old man called 911 to report that he had been held against his will while two men went through his apartment, stealing his wallet and television. The man told police he was contacted earlier in the day by a man who said he was an employee of Lakeview Terrace Apartments and said the company had a new rent policy — they would no longer accept checks and he would have to pay cash for his rent.

After an investigation, William Price, 53, was arrested and charged with theft by deception, passing bad checks, aggravated burglary, kidnapping and receiving stolen property.

Price admitted to the scheme in which he arrived with the man’s old rent check that had been placed in the apartment’s mailbox, and he returned the check to the man, saying he needed his rent payment “right away.”

According to a police report, the man believed Price was legitimate and drove with him to Chapman’s Food Mart to withdraw cash from the ATM.

Siniard

Price received $250 from the man and a check made out to his friend, for the remaining amount of $185.

According to the report, the man also gave Price $8 in cash for lunch, and Price left around 4 p.m. with the check and money.

Price denied knowledge of the kidnapping and burglary that occurred later that night.

At around 9 p.m., the man received a call from Price, who told him he would send over men to bring him “something special” in appreciation for everything that he did. When the man answered the door, two men wearing masks held him against his will with a steak knife and another man, who was not charged, demanded he give him his wallet.

One of the men, Matthew Siniard, 27, was arrested and charged with aggravated burglary, kidnapping, disrupting public service and receiving stolen property. The other man was not arrested, according to the report, but officers were obtaining a warrant for his arrest after statements from the other suspects.

Thomas

According to the report, Siniard and the man made off with a television and the man’s cell phone after tying him up with phone cords to a chair and putting a t-shirt over his head.

The victim told police he was afraid and believed that the uncharged suspect was “crazy or on drugs” due to his behavior. He said he managed to escape after the other man and Siniard left, and he borrowed a neighbor’s phone to call 911.

Siniard told police the robbery was the other man’s idea after the two “smoked rocks” together. He expressed remorse and said he did not want to hurt the man, according to police.

Also arrested was Abraham Thomas, who police said had a role in cashing the rent check from the victim. Police also found the man’s television at Thomas’s house.

Thomas was arrested and charged with two counts of receiving stolen property and one count each of theft by deception and passing bad checks.

Thomas admitted only to purchasing the television from Price for $30 and helping to cash the check. His girlfriend who cashed the check told police she believed “it was OK,” because the bank didn’t decline it.

The woman was not charged because she is pregnant, but police told the woman to expect charges.

Police said the victim sustained “severe emotional and psychological distress” from the incident. Police said the man would not open his apartment door because he was afraid and stated he had not slept since the robbery.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.