Music, headphones cover up sound of busy burglar

Posted at 4:56 PM, Mar 25, 2016

CINCINNATI — Dan Frecka was asleep in his Over-the-Rhine apartment when he was robbed, the latest in nearly a dozen burglaries in the developing neighborhood over the past month, according to police.

“Three in the morning,” Frecka told WCPO. “I’ve got my headphones on. I’m zoned out, and a robber comes in.”

In fact, Frecka said he wasn’t even aware his apartment had been burglarized until later that morning, when he was woken by investigators.

“I wake up looking for my backpack, and I see police flashing a light in my window,” he said. “I’m wondering what’s going on.”

Frecka said he lost hundreds of dollars in property that night, including a laptop computer and a hard drive.

Jamall Merchant (Provided)

Studying Frecka’s apartment-turned-crime scene led investigators to find fingerprints that helped them identify the suspect as 18-year-old Jamall Merchant.

Police said Merchant is suspected in connection with at least 11 burglaries along Race St. in OTR — including Findlay Market.

Now, police are warning residents in the area to be diligent about securing their homes.

“Just double check your window, lock your windows, lock your doors,” said Cincinnati Police Lt. Steve Saunders. Saunders said it can be easy to forget to do these things as the weather gets nicer.

Police arrested Merchant Thursday night after identifying him as a suspect and held him in the Hamilton County Detention Center on a $100,000 bond. He was arraigned Monday morning.

Saunders said they expect to make more arrests in the case.