ELYRIA — A former city of Elyria communications technician has been charged with theft in office for allegedly stealing siren control systems valued at nearly $19,000.
Nicholas Cerreto, 33, is accused of taking 30 of the Whelon Cencom Sapphire Siren Systems, which are valued at $625 each, from a locked storage area in Elyria's maintenance garage. It’s a room, Elyria Police Capt. Chris Costantino said, that only Cerreto and other employees of the city’s Communications Department had access to.
He said the theft was discovered June 21 when technicians went to replace a broken siren system on a police car and found that the components were missing.
Detective Donald Moss then launched an investigation that included checking Internet sites selling police equipment and he found several of the stolen components being offered for sale by Cerreto, Costantino said.
A search of Cerreto’s LaGrange residence on Friday turned up additional stolen city property, Costantino said and Cerreto later confessed to stealing from the city.
Costantino said efforts are being made to locate the stolen components and get those who purchased them to return them.
He also said that the Communications Department has launched a review of its equipment inventory to see what, if anything, else may be missing. Costantino said police have learned that Cerreto also stole a radio from a city truck and an undercover police vehicle lightbar.
“We’re still trying to put it all together,” he said.
Elyria Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka that Cerreto had worked for the city for several years and had no major disciplinary infractions during his tenure.
Cerreto resigned in May and went to work for WEOL, a local AM radio station that is owned and operated by the same parent company as The Chronicle-Telegram.
Lonnie Gronek, the station’s vice president and general manager, said Monday that Cerreto joined the station as chief engineer about a month ago. He said the company is reviewing the situation.
Cerreto, who is free on bond, was charged with theft and theft in office and had an initial appearance in Elyria Municipal Court on Monday. He is due back in court Monday.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.