crime

All posts tagged crime

Porch decoration collector

Published October 2, 2018 by justicewg

An odd thief has been caught on cams stealing from the porches of Grandview homes.

He likes to steal wreaths off doors, large planters, and pumpkins from the front porch of homes. He commits his crimes both at night and during the day.

These videos are from Pullman Way and Urlin Ave. One of the videos has a fairly clear image of the suspect vehicle that we believe to be a silver mid-size SUV or hatch back vehicle. He also wears what appears to be Adidas sandals during the offenses. Anyone that may be able to identify him is asked to contact our police department at 614-488-7901.

Sometimes crime makes no sense at all. What is this guy doing with the wreaths, planters and pumpkins? I can’t see how he can sell the stuff, it would be obvious they are stolen to any purchaser. My guess – this guy has a shrine at home, decorated with all of the plunder. Probably has a map on the wall behind, with string connecting pushpins, showing the deep connection between all of the stuff.

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Reynolds adds some drama to council meeting about kid’s helmets

Published June 19, 2017 by justicewg

Council 6-5-17Have you been following the city council as they debated a new law to require helmets for kids on bikes? Did you express you opinion to a council member? According to city council member Steve Reynolds, the process to explore new rules has been rushed through the council law making process, leading to a proposed law that has not been given enough thought.

If your kid gets a proposed ticket for riding a bike without a helmet, are you ready to spend some time attending the Mayor’s court with your child, at which you will be lectured and fined some amount of money?

The new law as read by Reynolds says that the bike of an offending child can be seized by the ticketing police officer. Do you think it is a good idea to have police snatching away kid’s bikes for failure to wear a simple helmet? Is it a good use of police time to deal with taking away bikes, storing them, and arranging for the return of them after a fine has been paid?

The 9/11 of council drama

Reynolds said the council president didn’t follow her own promise to hold off on writing down a proposed law. Reynolds added some hyperbole to the debate by saying that there was a perception that the council make laws outside the council chamber, and that rushing this law “is throwing jet fuel onto that”. He didn’t feel that any positive reinforcement (cops giving treats to kids who wear helmets) could be done now that the law punishing kids for no helmets has been written.

The above video will start at the point where Reynolds begins his complaint (if it doesn’t in your app skip to 40:20). Skip forward to 1:23:55 for Panzera’s heated reply to Steve.

Read the rest of this entry →

Bomb threat at PNC Bank closed 1st Ave, schools locked down (with update on suspect)

Published January 31, 2017 by justicewg

first-closed-bombA bomb threat at the PNC Bank on First Ave. caused the closing of the street and lockdowns at all the school buildings in Grandview Heights this afternoon.

The schools were put in lockdown at 1:45 PM, the robbery must have occurred shortly before. The Columbus bomb squad was on the scene to determine if a bag left at the scene contained a bomb (the debris from a ripped apart bag was seen in front of the bank, I assume that means that it was a false alarm).pnc-bank-bomb

The school called off the lockdown at 3:45 PM, allowing a late return of kids from the schools to their homes.

From CH10 TV – “Police described the suspect as a white male who walked into the bank demanding money and said he had a bomb. The suspect then left a bag at the bank.”

Ch28 has photos of the suspect who robbed the bank then left a bag.

More info posted on the Grandview City blog.

Feb 14 update

The Grandview Heights police announced they have a suspect in custody. Karl Schlenker, 60, of Cranford, New Jersey, was arrested at his home without incident.

Lots of questions about this guy remaining – why travel all the way to Grandview? He doesn’t fit the profile of your average bank robber (most are younger), if the quick search I did was correct, he used to have a  Senior Sales and Marketing Leadership Position at IBM Corporation. How did he get found so quickly? My guess – he drove a car to Columbus, then parked it somewhere east of the bank (he was reported to be heading east). Possibly he walked past a surveillance camera on Grandview Ave. with his hat off and no sun glasses, and they got enough of a picture to match him on some database. Maybe he parked wrong (any parking east of Grandview Ave. is permit only), and someone took notice of his out of state license. More to come on the grey-haired bank robber.

karl-schlenker

I searched and found a Karl R Schlenker, 60, of Cranford, New Jersey, who is listed as the owner of the house at 818 Springfield Ave. I may be wrong, but I think this is his home, as of 2015 on Google maps.

schlenker-home

A very nice home, in a good neighborhood, any of the homes on this street would fit into Grandview with no problem.

(Feb 16 update) Schlenker was returned to Franklin Co.,  posted bond, and has been released. Normally someone who is released from serious charges is required to stay in the area, so Schlenker may be walking the streets of Grandview.

karl-schlenker-indited(Feb 23) Karl Schlenker was indicted on two counts of robbery and inducing panic. That stare into the camera – is he saying, “yea, I robbed yus bank, so what?” (trying for a New Jersey accent).

 

(Later) A reader found the info on the case, Schlenker plead guilty and was sentenced to 4 years, 9 months in jail. He is still appealing the sentence (from jail), if I am reading the casework correctly. Also, prior convictions were mentioned in the sentencing, so this was not a guy who just broke bad at 60 years old.

Thieves stealing Grandview car wheels in daylight

Published January 19, 2017 by justicewg

Police in Grandview have reported that thieves stole the wheels from 5 vehicles in the past week. What makes these thefts unusual is that most happened in full daylight, on streets and parking lots that were open and in view of any passing car. I have some theories about how the tire heists were done, but first a solution that will keep your wheels safe (probably).

Wheel Locking Lugs are inexpensive

wheel-locksThe cheapest way to secure your wheels is a set of locking lugs, $20 to $30 will provide moderate security (if thieves want your expensive rims, they will find a way). The lugs are easy to install by yourself, just remove one nut from each wheel, slip the locking key on top of the replacement lug, and tighten to specs. for your car. You will need to keep the security key in a safe place (not the glove compartment, thieves know to look inside). You will also need to use the key to remove the wheel if you break down on the side of the road, so don’t lose it!

Guessing the M.O.

The news reports listed some similarities in all of the thefts, this gives us some clues to understand how they got away with these bold tire ripoffs.

Both wheels on one side of the vehicle were taken. There were bricks or blocks left under the cars. And the daylight thefts would have required speed – they probably had the wheels off and were thrown into the getaway car within a few minutes. I’m not an expert, but I have changed enough tires to make some good guesses.

The getaway vehicle was driven up to the side of the target car, and parked. They could have used a van, and opened the side door, to have quick access to the tools. Parking close to the target gave them some cover, and blocked the view for 180 degrees.

The first guy pulled a floor jack out and placed it under the side of the car, centered between the wheels. This allowed him to lift the whole side of the car in one motion, and allowed the removal of both wheels on one side.

The second man was working on the first tire while the car was being jacked up, popping off the hub caps and loosening the nuts. He probably used a battery powered impact driver, which could have the nuts off within a minute (something like the air wrenches used in garages, but quieter). As the jack man finished, the wrench man moved down to the second wheel and started on that set of nuts. Meanwhile, the other guy was finishing removal of the tire and throws it into the van. The nut removal guy finishes the second wheel, and moves it out of the way. The jack man has been placing blocks under the exposed brakes. They throw the second tire inside, drop the car onto the blocks, and slide the jack out and into the van.

Total time might be no more than 5 minutes for a well practiced couple of thieves.

I’m not too sure how they avoided setting off car alarms, most of them contain tilt sensors that are triggered by lifting the car. Possibly the thieves check for alarms before they start? And how can they avoid being seen by passing cars? Somebody is going to see something, and report to the police the make and model of the getaway vehicle. I’m guessing by that time the crew will have moved on to the next city.

No matter if these guys are caught, you need locking nuts to protect your car, if you don’t want to walk out one morning and find your wheels missing.

(April 11 update) GHPD caught a tire thief in the act, he had already removed the tires from one car and was in the process on a second when the police caught him. I’m surprised this was one person, he must have been really good at removing wheels to get away with it by himself.

(April 27 update) The same guy was allegedly dragging a cop while he attempted to flee in his car, and was shot and killed by the officer.

Bad dog owner

Published April 17, 2016 by justicewg

bad dog ownerThere were some comments this spring on the city blog and other social media about dogs in the city parks, and a long April 5 TVN story covered the issues caused by owners who ignore the ban on dogs in most Grandview parks. Mayor DeGraw was quoted saying “Pierce Field is a zero-tolerance park (for dogs) to me because it is the park most used by the youngest members of the community”. There was some discussion of new signage and possibly stiffer fines, but the discussion has not resulted in changes yet.

On a recent nice day at Pierce Field I encountered a dozen or so kids, a few parents sitting under the shelter or playing on the equipment with their kids. And one guy that appeared to be in his early twenties, with no kids and two dogs on the leash. I couldn’t see anything in his hands or pockets that looked like bags for cleaning up after the dogs.

I decided to ask him just why he was there, and what he knew about the rules for dogs at the parks.

I didn’t know

Some dog owners have a sense of entitlement, and don’t react well to being told the rules. I tried to keep it light – asked him how he was doing, etc. When I asked him if he knew that dogs are banned from the park, he expressed what seemed like genuine surprise. I told him that dogs in the parks are a hot issue right now, and that he would probably have an encounter with the cops if he continued to bring his dogs to the park.

The young man argued that he had seen lots of dogs at the park in the past, and that if the rules had changed, it must have been recently. I couldn’t say when the dog ban started, but I knew it was years ago. He also said that he had never seen signs banning dogs, and although there are a number of them, the “no dogs” is at the bottom of a lot of other text. Maybe we need some big signs with the circle-backslash symbol over the dog icon.

This TVN story from 2012 says that dogs were banned from Pierce Field, Wyman Woods, McKinley Field and Buck Park. So dogs have not been allowed since at least that year. The old story contained almost the same elements as this year’s article – exasperation with dog owners who don’t pick up after their dogs, calls for better enforcement, and a side comment about a dog park that never gets built.

Let’s tell the dog owners to stay out

I would guess my discussion with the young man will have no long term results. I’m just one cranky old man, and I spend very little time in the parks.

Most of the stories I read in social media about dogs in the parks express some level of anger about the irresponsible owners, but I have not read “I asked the owner to follow the rules and keep the dog out of the park”. Passive aggressive seems to be common.

How about if we all try a little non-passive education for these dog owners? Walk up, tell them the rules. You are not being a Goody Two-shoes, you are protecting the kids from potential dog bites.

Helen Lovejoy – “Won’t somebody please think of the children?”

I’m not suggesting that will be the only solution – obviously the city can do more, starting with better signage.

(Later) Dogs in parks were discussed at the June 6, 2016 city council meeting. The are supposed to put better signs up (and let dogs have use of the paths in Buck park and Wyman Woods).

When the news crews show up in Grandview

Published November 17, 2015 by justicewg

Channel 4 interview JosephThe recent threat of a shooting at the high school brought the Channel 10 and Channel 4 news crews out to do interviews with parents. There was the standard “the kid was not unusual, seemed quiet and didn’t stand out” sort of interview. There was also a “this is such a shame, we have soccer teams and a football team that are going into the state finals, it is upsetting for this shooting threat to be in the news”

There is an undercurrent of anger about the fact that news crews showed up to do theses stories about Grandview high school, expressed more openly in some social media posts. Some of that anger is pointed at the child who made a threat, but also at the news organizations that show up at the school.

It is true that kids who work hard and excel in sports are deserving of praise, and there will be stories about the victories of the sports teams on the local TV news. But I don’t think there was any mistake made by the assignment editors for the news crews, they should have been out in front of the school when the story of the potential shooting became public.

Sports victories are fleeting

In 1970 I was in the county finals for the wrestling squad at my high school, it was cool to have an auditorium filled with people cheering for me. It didn’t do much for the rest of my career, either in sports or further in life. That was OK, I didn’t identify as a jock, and I put my sports victories behind me. I saw others in my school who excelled in sports and kept clinging to the sports victories as the highlight of their lives. Those kids had some of the saddest stories as grown ups, their accomplishments were minor at the local factories.

Sports victories are a good way to encourage kids to be skilled sportspeople, a life long habit of keeping in shape will lead to better health. But the career options for someone who mostly uses their muscles rather than their brains was never great, and the options are getting smaller. A lot of those factories went overseas, the rest will slowly become filled with machines that need no operator.

How will we be remembered?

Some big trophies to add to the cases at the high school will be impressive to look at. Let’s not fool ourselves, a winning team is a fleeting victory, no matter how high in the tournaments our teams go those trophies are just some dust catchers after a few years. Nobody will be hiring based on how well your team did in high school.

If the worst outcome of the incident with the kid who made alleged threats of shootings at the school had come true, Grandview would have gone into the record books alongside names like Columbine, and Sandy Hook.

Is bullying a sport at Grandview?

We don’t know what pushed the kid to make threats of violence against other students, but bullying is always a good guess. I have heard from some parents that it is bad at the schools.

In 2012 there was a special board meeting for parents who had problems with their kids being bullied at the school. There was a three hour meeting filled with pleas from parents who saw their kids bullied at school, around town, and in social media. Kids were threatened and sometimes beaten up. I ended that 2012 post with the assumption that the school would react with some substantial actions to deal with bullying. I saw no real changes that happened because of that meeting. There have been no more board meetings to talk about bullying. There is a Facebook group for parents that is focused on solutions for Grandview, but they seem to have no support from the school.

The school board doesn’t want to talk about bullying, but they do have a form that parents can fill out and submit to report incidents. The number of reports filed are listed on the school website. If this is accurate, it shows a spike in the problems at the school, starting in 2014.

News crews are the warning sign that something needs attention

I can’t see inside a school that has a board that mostly wants us to go away, and throws up blocks in front of those who want to see what is happening inside. My guess is that bullying is rampant, and the board will do nothing about it. If they ignore the news crews, it is like ignoring a warning light on your car dashboard – it might be OK for a while, but it will probably be a disaster in the long run.

We might see more news crews if the worst happens and bullying leads to violence at the school. I don’t see the board doing anything to stop this from happening.

Catching the flasher

Published September 21, 2015 by justicewg

The reports about the flasher in Grandview seemed to be going away this year, but he is back. This is from the Grandview city blog.

“On September 17, 2015, at approximately 8:40pm, officers were dispatched to the area of W. Second Ave and Morning Ave on the report of a man who had exposed his genitals to three females, two of which were juveniles. Upon arrival, the victims stated they were approached from behind by an unknown male that had a black shirt partially covering his face. The suspect made threats that he was going to sexually assault the victims while engaging in a sex act. He is described as a Caucasian male, 6 feet tall, and 200 pounds.

There have been fourteen public indecency reports that have certain similarities since June 30, 2013, within the City of Grandview Heights. Those similarities include the suspect appearing from behind a structure or landscaping, and his face will be covered. However, the physical description of the suspect(s) remains inconsistent, and this is the first incident where threats have been made to a victim. Four additional incidents in the same time frame were unrelated and resulted in criminal charges for two suspects. A third suspect was interviewed but not charged.

We continue to ask citizens to be vigilant and not to approach or make contact with any suspicious individuals. If anyone has any information about these incidents they are encouraged to contact the Grandview Heights Police immediately at (614) 488-7901. “

There was also an email that was sent to parents, warning about the flasher. That email included a few suggestions, such as having the Grandview Police number above listed on your speed dial. The standard 911 call will reach the Grandview police, but there are delays caused by transfers from the Columbus police 911 operator to Grandview. It also suggested walking with another person (impractical advice for some). One good plan was to maintain a map in your head, so that you can quickly tell the dispatcher the exact location of a flasher sighting.

My not expert advice – scream loudly. This is a busy city, and screams are not normal sounds. You will attract attention, except in the most remote corners of the city like Goodale Ave. Pepper spray can be effective, but you have to train yourself to grab it and aim correctly, it will need a lot of practice.

The one item that most people carry without fail is their cell phone, and all cell phones now have cameras. If one person in your group is calling the cops, the others can start a video recording. Again, practice is the key, because a video of a person running away down a dark alley is not much use. Be ready to start the video at a moment’s notice. I’m thinking that there must be some physical characteristic of the flasher which will give him away – maybe a ring on a finger, or a stain on his clothing that can be matched with the clothing of a suspect.

Previous post about the flasher.