Police still seeking third suspect
By Erik Buchinger
Clintonville police arrested two of three suspects in a recent spree of vehicle break-ins shortly after 5 a.m. Tuesday.
Damien E. Jones, 18, Clintonville, is charged with felony possession of narcotics, two misdemeanor counts of theft, concealing stolen property and misdemeanor bail jumping. He was released from custody on a $1,000 signature bond.
In August, Jones was charged with battery, two counts of disorderly conduct, criminal damage and illegal entry.
Alex J. Skoken, 17, Clintonville, is charged with misdemeanor theft. He was released on a $1,000 signature bond co-signed by his father.
Capt. Dennis Schroeder said Clintonville police still investigating and attempting to identify the third suspect.
According to Schroeder, there are potential felony burglary charges for going into garages and buildings.
Police were called when Clintonville resident Lorelee Mosser noticed people shining a flashlight in a neighbor’s field while she was sitting on the porch.
Mosser alerted her husband Jerry Mosser, who initially thought it was a neighbor walking the dog.
“After a few moments, I realized it was not my neighbor,” Jerry said. “They then moved to the house on the corner, and I could see three of them monkeying around these vehicles, so I quickly called the police department.”
The three suspects went into an unlit area, but Mosser said he could still hear them moving through the brush in the field.
Mosser was informed by the dispatcher to remain on the line.
“I looked and caught one peaking over above a car, and that one was open,” Mosser said. “I came running after them.”
Still in his slippers, Mosser ran after the suspects. One split off in another direction, and the other two stopped at the corner of the road when police arrived. The suspects were put into custody and were somewhat cooperative, according to Schroeder.
Schroeder said the police department is grateful for Mosser’s help.
“We sure do appreciate it, and it makes a big difference,” Schroeder said. “Being aware for their neighbors, it means a lot. If you see somebody around your neighbor’s house, give us a call. It might turn out to be nothing, but in this case, it definitely was something.”
Mosser said he has a history of helping police stop thieves, as he helped track down people stealing from Steinke Auto in Clintonville about a decade ago.
“All we want to do is just keep the neighborhood safe and the whole town because we’ve got friends here,” Mosser said. “That’s the kind of people we are, we just like to help people.”
With the recent string of car break-ins in the area, Schroeder said the police put together a spreadsheet showing which areas were targeted at what times.
“We tried to find pattern but couldn’t find anything,” Schroeder said. “We weren’t able to put pattern together.”
Schroeder said the suspects involved are believed to be in connection with the trend of vehicle break-ins in Clintonville.
“We believe they were involved in most of them,” Schroeder said. “We’re trying to work on that. There might be other people involved, but with the items that were taken, at least one of them was involved, we believe.”
After the arrests were made, the police went to one of the suspects’ residence and located bows and arrows, a boombox, loose change, navigational equipment and empty alcohol bottles that were stolen, among other things.
Police are in the process of recovering items and returning them to their owner, and Schroeder said to call the Clintonville Police Department if something has gone missing.
“If anybody has noticed something missing and reported it to us, be patient,” Schroeder said. “We’re trying to match what has been recovered with the complaints filed. If you haven’t heard for a week or so, give us call.”
Mosser said people can offer help in these situations by calling police when something looks out of the ordinary.
“We have to keep people aware to watch out and keep their stuff locked up,” Mosser said. “Just watch for different people you don’t usually see in the neighborhood because it’s been going on through the whole town. This might happen in most cities, but we just got to be on the lookout.”