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NILES AND CHAMPION Rash of break-ins strikes at Fairhaven

Published: Sat, September 29, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.

The expense to repair damage from the break-ins is higher than the amount of money taken.
NILES -- Police are investigating a series of break-ins at Trumbull County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities facilities over the last several months.
Someone broke into the Fairhaven Workshop, Lincoln Way, near the end of May, using two bricks to smash an office window. Other break-ins were reported at the North Road facility in June and July. This month brought a break-in at the Lincoln Way facility and the workshop in Champion.
Similarities: In all of the reported incidents, thieves smashed a window to get into the buildings and ransacked offices. They pried open a cash box, taking change and loose cash in one of the break-ins. The metal cash box was in a locked file drawer.
The perpetrators left televisions, computers and VCRs untouched, according to police reports.
Niles and Champion police are working together to solve the crimes, talking to agency employees to determine whom they deal with.
"We're not pointing the finger at employees," said Capt. Charles Wilson of Niles police. "We're trying to get an idea from them of their clientele and who they deal with from the outside. It seems to be someone who knows what's happening within Fairhaven."
Cooperation: Employees and supervisors at the facilities have been cooperative with police, Wilson said. The Champion officer handling the investigation couldn't be reached.
The break-ins have made workers more cautious.
"Everyone is a lot more careful about what they leave laying around," said Superintendent Douglas A. Burkhardt.
The thieves took petty cash from the facilities.
"The damage they caused was more than the money they took," Burkhardt said.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation took fingerprints from items police believe were handled by the thieves. Those reports haven't come back.
"They're picking on a place where people are getting help," Wilson said. "I'm taking it kind of personally. The people in the county probably are, too, because they vote for the levies."

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