'Career criminals' case parking lots, drivers store valuables ripe for picking
By Chad D. Baus
It's getting a bit confusing trying to come up with the reasons being offered for a crime wave in Cleveland. First anti-gun Mayor Frank Jackson pointed to a "drought" in the supply of powdered cocaine to his city that "could be to blame for a spike in certain violent crimes close to home". A week later, he decided to blame HB347, a law which took effect in March, which acted to guarantee uniformity on the state's gun laws.
Now police have identified two 'career criminals' as being responsible for a West Side crime wave. And it is the revelations about their smash-and-grab methods that should alarm legislators who mandated so many "no-guns" victim zones in the State of Ohio, and the CHL-holders who are forced to leave their firearms in their vehicles outside.
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From the Plain Dealer:
- For years, Donald Hein and Gail Hill watched as you got out of your car at popular stores and restaurants on the West Side.
You thought you were being smart putting your laptop computer in your trunk, but that was a cue for Hein to pounce, police said.
You parked at the RTA lot and rode the rapid to work, but Hill targeted cars there to strip them of catalytic converters, air bags and other accessories, police said.
The two men did not work together, but police from several suburbs on Cleveland's West Side said Hein and Hill created their own crime wave. They victimized scores of people by stealing cars, car parts and whatever they could find inside the vehicles, authorities said.
...Hein, 34, and Hill, 27, do not know each other, but they share a trait: They have bounced in and out of prison for years. And as soon as they were released or posted bond, they returned to steal and rob, court records show.
The crimes in the last few months are notable, police said, because of their volume and their sophistication, planning and boldness.
"Cuyahoga County is getting killed by these guys," said RTA police Chief John Joyce.
...Hein admitted he watched people enter the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and waited for them to put purses, laptop computers and other valuables into their trunks, Metroparks police Sgt. Sean Flanigan said.
Police told the Plain Dealer they are seeing an increase in these types of robberies.
Just as our warnings to legislators that allowing the media to access and publish the confidential information on individuals with CHLs would lead to targeted gun theft, several of the volunteers of this political action committee testified that creating so many "no-guns" victim zones would create the equivalent of a "parking lot gun store" for thieves such as these, who would then have the knowledge that it would be much more likely to find a firearm stored in a car outside a victim zone, and presenting theieves the opportunity simply to watch and wait until they observed a CHL-holder storing their firearm in order to comply with the law.
Such warnings have been met with scorn by the Ohio media. The Akron Beacon Journal has called it a "flimsy presumption", and Gannett News Columbus Bureau Chief Jim Siegel said these types of warnings "elevate these criminals to a level of sophistication they very likely do not possess..."
Just as they bent to pressure to give the media access to CHL-holder's confidential information, legislators sided with the media and gun ban extremists on "no-gun" victim zones, creating an extensive list of places where criminals could go to steal guns from cars, including highway rest stops, churches, daycares and college campuses.
And once again we have a news account of criminals who are specifically researching, targeting and stalking victims they have identified as having something they want.
It is time for legislators to all law-abiding CHL-holders their right to self-defense in the many "no-guns" victim zones they have created across Ohio, and stop forcing CHL-holders to reveal they are storing firearms in their vehicles in front of these sorts of criminal minds.
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