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Mentor Police Investigating Van Burning, Car Thefts

Police warn people to lock their cars, hide their valuables if they're going to store them in their vehicle

Mentor Police are trying to find the person or people who torched a van in the 6200 block of Cedarwood Road Sunday morning.

Police and firefighters were called at 6:15 a.m. to the victim's home and they saw a 1999 Chevrolet Astro.

The fire completely gutted the van and even scorched a nearby basketball hoop and tree, Mentor Police Lt. Ken Zbiegien said.

The owner of the van said he had just cleaned it and was preparing to sell it.

Police think the burnt van might be related to a series of thefts from cars in the same neighborhood that morning, Zbiegien said.

At least three unlocked cars, including one that belonged to the Astro's owner, had something stolen from it.

The thief -- or thieves, as the case may be -- stole spare change, CDs and electronics.

Zbiegien noted that all the cars that were targeted had been left unlocked.

"If people locked their cars, it would prevent more than half of thefts from vehicles," he said.

Zbiegien added that people should also keep their valuables out of sight if they are going to store them in their car.

Mentor Police ask that if you see a suspicious person or vehicle in your neighborhood, please call the police station at 440-974-5760.

concerned neighbor April 17, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Just because a car is locked doesn't give anyone the right to walk onto someone's property and steal! That van was approx 10 feet from the gas line to the house. All 5 people in their could have been killed and all they have to say is keep your car locked!!! How did the car alarm go off and wake the resident if the car wasn't locked!!! Ask how long it took for the fire dept to get to the fire!!
Jon Gage April 17, 2012 at 07:43 PM
I reply to ignorant concerned neighbor.No a unlocked car in your drive doesn't give anyone the right to steal.Unfortunately in this day and age we have to.As for the gas line it is unerground.No danger of a explosion.You can find out just how fast the Outstanding Mentor fire department got to the fire.It is public record.
Neighbor April 17, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Well the alarm on the car that was also broke into was what woke the homeowner and the neighbors. The car was locked, but that's a mood point. Look, it's an unfortunate thing that happened. The theives or thief hit other cars, this one happened to start on fire. When your car or house is on fire it will definitely feel like an eternity until the fire department gets there. They did a great job keeping the fire off the house and keeping the damage down on the other car. Overall they did a great job.
Rusty Humphries April 17, 2012 at 11:45 PM
The word is moot. It's a moot point, not a mood point.
Karl Hubrath May 10, 2012 at 08:41 PM
I would like to make a comment and a thought to what I think happened. I think that the robber may have been smoking a cigarette or something while robbing from the cars. I do think that Mentor fire department is the finest out there, they did not start the fires, see? Why blame them? The guilty people here are, hello, the robbers? Sorry for that sounding as harsh as it needed to. Anyway that is what I think really happened. God bless.

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