Cellphone burglar gang faces more than 100 charges in local 'smash-and-grab' spree

CINCINNATI -- Investigators believe six adults and two juveniles committed more than 60 related cellphone "smash-and-grab" burglaries between April 2012 and January 2014.

The gang of burglars, who investigators said ran in two groups, hit cellphone stores in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana during their crime spree, including stores in Mason and Hyde Park, among others as far south as Louisville, Ky.

"They were taking those en masse from multiple stores in multiple cities in multiple counties," Capt. Eric Grile of the Beaver Creek Police Department told WCPO reporter Jason Law.

The burglars regularly targeted Verizon Wireless stores, Grile said. Investigators believe they've stolen more then $300,000 in cellphones - mostly Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones. After selling the phones, the group is believed to have spent the return on expensive clothing and hotel rooms.

"The value, you're looking at a retail phone that goes anywhere from $200-$500," Grile said. "They're taking SIM cards and all kinds of devices."

"These individuals are all from the Dayton area, but they committed crimes all over Ohio, as well as across state lines," Ohio Attorney General DeWine said. "Those with the Warren County Sheriff's Office, Columbus Police Department, and Dayton Police Department worked to connect the dots that tied these crimes together, and we are very grateful for their hard work, as well as the work of all of the other local jurisdictions involved."

More than 100 charges were filed in connection with the "smash-and-grab" operation.

Those arrested include Lamar Caviness, 18, Gary Pullen, 34, Antone Jackson, 18, Duane Taylor, 20, Michael Roberson, 19, and Kevin Snowden, 18.

The cases, DeWine said, will be prosecuted by the Warren County Prosecutor's Office and the Greene County Prosecutor's Office. He said more arrests could be made.

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