[LFC Comments: Thanks to the patriots at Auburntownship.org for this article. We hope the “throw the book” at these con artists for stealing from our seniors. Many thanks to the Uber driver for his quick action that allowed law enforcement to apprehend the perpetrators.]
PAINESVILLE, Ohio — An alert Uber driver helped authorities arrest two men and a woman from Illinois who are accused of trying to rob two elderly residents in Lake County and several others in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The trio eluded authorities Monday during a chase with police, sheriff’s deputies and State Highway Patrol troopers. An Uber driver listening to the police scanner had a ride requested by the trio and alerted police, according to Lake County Sheriff Frank Leonbruno.
Rudy Miller and Rocky Mason, both 28, and Apple Miller, 26, are charged with burglary and complicity to commit burglary. All three are from the Chicago area and are being held in the Lake County Jail awaiting their first court appearances.
Pennsylvania State Police and the Ashtabula County Sheriff are investigating similar incidents, Lake County Sheriff Frank Leonbruno said.
The first incident in Lake County happened about 1:45 p.m. Sunday at a home on Girdled Road in Concord Township.
Two men pulled into a 73-year-old woman’s driveway as she worked her in yard, Leonbruno said. The men, including one who wore a neon safety vest, said there was a water main break in the area and needed to check her house.
One man argued with the woman while the other went inside her home and stole a charm bracelet from a jewelry box, according to Leonbruno. The two drove off in a black Dodge Challenger.
A 90-year-old man reported about 2:30 p.m. that two men walked into his home on Carter Road in Leroy Township through an unlocked door and said they were investigating a water issue in the neighborhood, Leonbruno said.
The 90-year-old man ordered the duo out of his home and nothing was stolen.
Shortly after, the duo tried to get inside a neighbor’s home on Carter Road by telling the resident they were interested in buying a car. The resident said he had no car for sale and the men left.
About 6 p.m., Ashtabula County Sheriff deputies reported a similar burglary where two men of the same description, driving the same car, claimed to be from the water company and walked into someone’s home. The duo stole $6,000 worth of jewelry and sped away.
About 20 minutes later, Madison Township police spotted the duo’s car. The officers followed the car to a BP gas station on Vrooman Road. Lake County Sheriff deputies and state troopers arrived.
The car sped off, nearly hitting a sheriff’s cruiser, Leonbruno said. The group chased the car west on Interstate 90. The group drove through spike strips on the highway in Mentor, and officers lost sight of the car.
Shortly after that, the Uber driver called police and reported he went to Garfield Park in Mentor to pick up three people from a broken down Dodge Challenger. The Uber driver told investigators he had been listening to the scanner and heard the chase involving the Challenger, according to Leonbruno.
The Uber driver refused a $500 offer to drive the group to Chicago and instead dropped them off near the Holiday Inn hotel on Ohio 306. The Uber driver stayed in the area and called 911.
Officers arrived and arrested all three. Investigators found cash and jewelry, all believed to be stolen from several incidents. They also found a safe believed to be stolen from an elderly resident in Pennsylvania.
In that case, the group is accused of talking their way into a home of an elderly resident and stealing the safe with $10,000 cash and other items inside.