By MARGIE WUEBKER
A St. Marys man has been charged in connection with the theft
of a bicycle from a Cron Street residence in Celina early Thursday
Andrew J. Meinerding, 19, 856 Townview Drive, was apprehended
shortly after Celina Police were called to the scene by a neighbor
of the victim, Tonya Saunders, 501 Cron St.
The neighbor, Robert Roe, told officers he watched a pickup
truck park down the street from his mobile home, three suspects
leave the vehicle and one of them take a bicycle from Saunders’
yard. He yelled at the suspect, who then pedaled from the scene.
Police, arriving in response to Roe’s 11:39 p.m. call,
were unable to locate any suspects at the scene. The truck abandoned
at the scene was being towed when Meinerding returned and told
officers the vehicle had been stolen.
Meinerding confessed to taking the bicycle during an ensuing
interview, according to police reports. He was unable to identify
the other suspects.
Saunders also reported her vehicle had been entered. A bank
book and some cash allegedly were taken.
An investigation into the vehicle entry is continuing, and no
one has been implicated thus far. Police have responded to similar
calls during the past 10 days.
“These are crimes of opportunity,” police Chief
Dave Slusser told The Daily Standard. “They usually take
place on hot summer nights, but this streak seems to have started
later than usual.”
Slusser said officers involved in stakeouts have seen perpetrators
try a door handle. If the vehicle is locked, they move to greener
pastures in hopes of finding unlocked doors.
Perpetrators, who generally range in age from 14 to 25, ransack
the interior looking for CDs, stereo equipment, cash, coins
and other items that can be carried away without much effort,
according to Slusser.
Money appears to be the most popular target, but recent calls
involved gas being siphoned and a stereo pulled from the dash.
Culprits sometimes return to the scene of an earlier crime,
to which a Sunset Drive victim can attest. Money was taken from
her unlocked vehicle on two occasions in the span of a week.
“The best advice I can offer local residents is to lock
their vehicles,” Slusser said. “If you have to keep
valuables inside, then lock them in the trunk.”