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by Robin Gee
Car break-ins are relatively common in the region according to Fort Thomas Police Lieutenant Adam Noe. It’s a crime of opportunity as thieves typically just walk by parked cars checking door handles until they find an open car door. And, it’s been happening in Fort Thomas with some frequency in recent weeks.
Fort Thomas Police detectives have been busy tracking a string of car break-ins from Grand Avenue to South Fort Thomas Avenue. While there have been incidents involving different groups and individuals, some solid police work helped to thwart the actions of one person responsible for thefts along Grand Lake, Madonna and Sweetbriar.
Catching a suspect
"Our detectives had been working these cases since they started and had developed some intel for patrol," said Noe. "We had information about a vehicle they were traveling in."
Lieutenant Noe explained what happened: "Officer [Joe] Paolucci was working night shift, out and about in the early morning hours. At about 5:30 a.m. on September 9th he happened to notice a vehicle matching the description given by our detectives. Based upon that information, he conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and subsequently found out it was the suspect we were looking for...After interviewing him, the suspect admitted to the break-ins in Fort Thomas and provided other information as well."
Officer Paolucci was acting on information provided by Detective Wayne Dutle.
Dutle had been investigating a number of different incidents over the past several weeks. He outlined some of the investigative work that led to the arrest.
"We had a theft on Grand Lakes, and we were able to track things down through credit cards that were stolen and used over in Ohio, which led us to a vehicle description and a suspect."
The night of the arrest, a neighbor with the Ring camera system, got footage of a suspect breaking into cars on his street. He turned that footage over to the police. Dutle and his colleagues were able to match the video footage of the suspect and his vehicle to information provided by the Westchester, Ohio, police.
"The person was identified, and I put a description out to our patrol units to be on the look out in the early morning hours for this vehicle, a jeep patriot with black hubcaps. Officer Paolucci was out on patrol and he observed the vehicle, made a stop on it, and it was the suspect."
Ryan Cortez Boykin, 30, of Cincinnati, has been charged with multiple counts: driving with a suspended license, possession of drug paraphernalia, two counts of criminal trespassing in the third degree, giving a police officer false information and three counts of theft from a vehicle.
Police were able to recover stolen property including credit cards, gift cards and other property described by the victims.
|18 N. Fort Thomas Ave.|
A reminder to lock it up
Police have often reminded residents to lock their doors, Noe said, but it bears repeating."Make it a habit of locking your cars, locking your homes, when you park in the driveway...We’ll periodically get people coming over from other cities, and they’ll just start walking the streets, checking car door handles in the hope that people leave them open. This keeps happening because there are so many people who keep their car doors open and unlocked when they go in for evening."
Recent improvements in home security technology have helped, he said. "Surveillance cameras are helping with our investigations as it did in this case... The footage is very helpful in developing timeframes, histories and characteristics of the suspects, especially if it’s been an ongoing issue."
Still, simply locking up can go far in prevention, said Noe. "Just a reminder to keep your doors locked. Make it a part of your daily routine. Lock the doors and do not keep any valuables in the vehicles."
Both Noe and Dutle said your vehicle is not a good place to store valuables, especially in plain sight. It can be a hassle to remember, but, as Dutle noted, "It’s just the world we are living in now."
Noe said he is proud of the work done by his department. "Our officers had been looking diligently for the vehicle with the information from our detectives. Our guys on third shift did a great job. We’ve caught a lot of these guys over the years through investigative work...Our guys were out doing what they are paid to do."
Armed with the information, they were able to make the arrest and return property to the victims, he said.