Crime spree rattles Blythewood

Morton’s Auto Sales was one of the five Blythewood businesses hit by the thieves recently when two cars were stolen from this lot.

BLYTHEWOOD – A month-long crime spree in downtown Blythewood, with crimes ranging from stealing bubble gum to auto theft and armed robbery, rattled the sense of safety for many in the community.

Five Blythewood businesses and the Richland County Recreation Center were targeted between March 28 and April 26. With the help of GPS tracking information and information provided by security surveillance videos in the town park, Sheriff’s deputies made arrests in connection with at least four of the crimes. A spokesperson with the Richland County Sheriff’s department said at least one suspect is still being sought. While juveniles were arrested in four of the incidents and released into the custody of family members, burglaries at Hardee’s and San Jose’s Mexican Restaurant were not tied to the other four.

Hardee’s

The first of the crimes occurred at Hardee’s restaurant on Creech Road at about 5:40 a.m. on March 28, when a black male  entered the restaurant  through a side entrance and walked up to the counter and ordered a sausage biscuit, a store employee stated. When the employee opened the cash register, the suspect handed the employee a plastic bag and, with his right hand, pulled out a black handgun and ordered the employee to hand over money from the register.

Instead of handing over the money, the employee closed the register, which locks when it’s closed, and held his hands in the air. The suspect then fled the scene emptyhanded and is still being sought.

San Jose’s Mexican Restaurant

On Monday, April 2, a robber used a large rock to force entry through the glass front door of San Jose’s Mexican Restaurant, next door to Hardee’s. According to a Sheriff’s report, multiple suspects entered the business and stole money from a register along with several bottles of liquor. The suspects used a crowbar to make entry into the main office where the bottles were stored, then exited through the rear door, the report stated. Surveillance cameras captured the incident which was viewed on scene, revealing two suspects who appeared to be males, the report stated. The heist netted the robbers five bottles of liquor valued at $400 and $100 in cash.  The suspects have not been arrested at press time. A Sheriff’s report states that one of the suspects was killed in a vehicle collision last week.

Morton’s Auto Sales

Two cars were stolen from Morton’s Auto Sales at the corner of Main Street and McLean Road sometime between Saturday evening, April 21 and Monday morning, April 23.

Stolen Toyota Avalon

The business’ owner, Damien Morton, discovered the crime on April 25 and reported a 2006 gray Toyota Avalon valued at $4,500 and a 2004 gray Mercedes E320 valued at $6,500 had been taken from the car lot. The incident report states that a window was broken on the side of the building where it appeared the robbers entered and rummaged through the office, taking the keys to the missing vehicles.

Within a short time of discovering the incident, a tracking devise on the 2004 Mercedes led Sheriff’s deputies to Boney Road where the abandoned vehicle was located on a powerline access road between Boney Road and I-77, the Sheriff’s report states. At press time, the Toyota had not been recovered.

Three juveniles were arrested and charged with burglary and motor vehicle theft. They were also charged with robberies at the Blythewood Recreation Park Concession Stand, Trinity Auto Sales and Doko Smoke BBQ.

Park Concession Stand

At the Blythewood Park Recreation Center’s ball field, Concession Stand Director Jeannie Sharpe, reported the stand was apparently robbed multiple times without being detected during the week of April 21. Sharpe said she noticed M&M candies and bubble gum began missing the first of the week. By Thursday, she said, “everything was gone.”

“They took everything, even my screw driver, tea bags, cheese and hot dogs,” Sharpe said. “They just cleaned us out, easily $1,000 worth of products.   It is just awful that somebody would stoop so low as to steal from a kids’ baseball league.”

In order to recoup the concession stand losses, Sharpe is encouraging folks to come by the ball park and purchase food items from the concession which is open 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Monday to Friday and Saturday from 10 a. m. until 1 p. m.

 

Chrystal Glover, owner of Trinity Car Sales, stands next to a busted out car window after thieves vandalized her car lot. | Photos: Callie Sims

Trinity Car Sales

 

Across McLean Road from Morton Auto Sales, Crystal Glover, owner of Trinity Car Sales and U-Haul Trailor rentals, told The Voice that records show her security alarm went off on Monday night, April 22, but no entry was made at her business. Then on April 25, Glover reported vandalism to vehicles on her lot that she said occurred sometime between April 22 and Wednesday evening, April 25. Glover said vandals slashed the tires on one car and two U-Haul trucks on her lot, smashed the driver’s side window of a Volvo and stole two tires and rims off a U-Haul truck.

“My alarm system must have scared them away on Monday evening,” Glover said. “Then the tires were slashed and other damage done on the lot Wednesday night. But they did not break into the office.”

Glover estimated damage at about $2,000 and the stolen tires were valued at $500.

Doko Smoke BBQ

Doko Barbecue, another business on Main Street, was entered through an unsecure door, robbed and vandalized the same evening according to Tony Crout, owner of the restaurant. Crout reported the thieves ransacked the restaurant, spraying interior walls and furnishings with a fire extinguisher before leaving with an Apple iPad and cash register stand an Apple iPad mini, two jars of BBQ sauce, a jar of BBQ rub, a tip jar and an unknown number of assorted chips and drinks.

“It was a mess in here,” Crout said. “But when we put it out on social media, a lot of our friends and customers showed up to help us clean up. We were only closed one day. It was amazing.”

Crout estimated damage to his business at more than $8,000.

Shortly after discovering the robbery, Crout electronically located his iPad and gave the location of his IPad to Sheriff’s Deputies. Crout said the juveniles were arrested that same morning.

Comments

  1. You wanted apartment complexes and diveristy you got it. Welcome to new Ohio

  2. Phillip gable says

    I remember when every body knew everybody in blythewoid not anymore the place isn’t worth living in now

    • Christian Pettway says

      Blythewood is a great town with great people. We have some people who like to destroy it by theft, vandalism and negative speak. Those are the people that need to leave. One love. Oh it’s Blythewood by the way.

  3. Keith loner says

    It was a matter of time after they put
    Those apartments in and now they want
    To build more I would advise blythewood
    Council to fight this time with lawyers
    Or nobody will want to live in the town
    Of blythewood including businesses.

  4. Becky Watson says

    To all that are saying that the crime is from the apartments,
    You all are absolutely wrong. First of they are not low income
    apartments, so let’s get that correct. You do have a certain income that has to be made there. Second of all, there has
    been several cars broken into there as well and someone
    going around scamming about other things. They do have cameras on the property and are looking out for their community just as you all are.
    Because you all don’t want diversity in Blythewood, you all want to put it on the apartments. That is not the only diverse
    neighborhood in Blythewood. You all need to have facts before going around and blaming a community. SMDH
    with the racist mess that is still going on today. Get over because diversity is everywhere and crime is committed from every group of people.

  5. Alisha Ninneman says

    I grew up in Blythewood, and we never locked our doors. I live in Michigan now, but never would I have ever imagined a crime spree in my sweet home town. It sounds like there’s a place for squatters in downtown now. How and why was this ever allowed? This really breaks my heart.

Speak Your Mind

*