The criminal element does not recognize any territorial boundaries, the chief says.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
POLAND -- Township police have arrested a Boardman man in connection with a series of break-ins over the last 30 days.
Police Chief Carl Massullo is reminding residents to remain vigilant in watching for crime.
David R. McKee, 42, of South Avenue, is charged with aggravated burglary, a felony. He is due in Struthers Municipal Court on Friday morning for a preliminary hearing.
McKee was arrested Jan. 3 by Poland and Boardman township officers in what police describe as an ongoing investigation into numerous home break-ins. The arrest came the day after police say McKee broke into a Shetland Lane home and came face-to-face with the homeowner.
What happened: According to reports, the home was entered through a basement window broken by the perpetrator. Reports state he was going through the house -- drinking wine and rummaging through closets -- when the homeowner walked in.
Police said the man ran for the door and left items behind, but not before the homeowner got a good look at him and called police. The female homeowner was not harmed.
Massullo said burglaries with substantial losses have taken place on Youngstown-Pittsburgh Road, Country Lane and Shetland Lane. Cash, jewelry, electronics, credit cards and alcoholic beverages have been stolen.
Massullo said McKee is believed to be responsible for at least five break-ins in Poland.
Boardman Police Sgt. Nick Levinsky said McKee is believed to have committed some crimes in that township as well, and an investigation continues.
Massullo said a window in a door or frame would be broken to gain access to a house. Once inside, a pillowcase would be used to carry items.
Taking precautions: Massullo said it is important to make every attempt to ward off such crimes by leaving lights on when not home and locking all doors and windows, no matter what community an individual lives in.
"In every instance here, the perpetrator knew or had reason to believe that no one was in the home. People are sometimes victims because they do not take the necessary precautions," he said. "One of the big problems in this community is that people think that because they reside in Poland, they are immune to this type of activity, but the criminal element does not recognize any territorial boundaries."
The chief encourages residents who are leaving town to call the police department so officers can routinely check on the home until the owners return.