A Metamora man is being sought for a series of vehicle thefts and some vehicle break-ins in Fulton County over the past few months.
Sheriff Roy Miller said Jeshua Gilmore, 18, has been linked to a rash of stolen vehicles around the county, including one taken March 5 after 4 a.m. from County Road 5-2. Gilmore was arrested for the theft by Toledo police the following day but was later released.
On Tuesday, the Swanton Police Department filed two counts of grand theft against Gilmore related to vehicles stolen on March 1 and March 2. The first, a Pontiac Bonneville, was taken from the Willow Run subdivision. The other was a Chevrolet Tahoe taken from Dodge Street. Both vehicles were unlocked and had keys inside.
“It’s a crime of opportunity,” Police Chief Adam Berg said. “Lock your doors – that’s the first line of defense. Don’t leave any valuables in plain sight.”
Another vehicle was broken into Tuesday morning on Lawrence Avenue. It was locked, and nothing appeared to be taken.
Miller said Gilmore may also be responsible for some vehicle break-ins that have occurred recently around the county. “There will be more charges coming,” he said.
Delta Police Chief Nathan Hartsock said there were two vehicle break-ins in the village last week. Both vehicles were unlocked, and items taken from them included tools and a .22 caliber rifle. Hartsock said the rifle was recovered before the owner knew it had been stolen.
Seven cars have been stolen in the Delta area since January. All have been recovered.
“I cannot state it enough. Remove your keys and lock your doors when the vehicle is not in use,” Hartsock said. “And remove valuables from your car. You’re inviting (thieves) in.”
Delta police have placed notification of the thefts and advice to lock vehicles on their Facebook page, “but apparently not everyone listens,” he said. “I wish they did.”
Hartsock said it’s also important for residents to report suspicious activity, regardless of how minor it may seem.
“We’d rather it turn out to be nothing than have another car be broken into,” he said.
Not all of the county’s vehicle thefts and break-ins may be connected to Gilmore. Berg said a vehicle stolen in Swanton earlier this year was found in the Kentucky-Tennessee area.
He said it’s disappointing when residents don’t secure their vehicles the way law enforcement advises.
“It makes you feel that these may been prevented it they took extra precautions. It’s like locking your house door,” Berg said. “Just because your car’s in your driveway doesn’t mean it’s safe from criminals.”
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.