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Crooks stealing keys, vehicles from used car lots in Summit County

AKRON, Ohio — In parts of Summit County, cars are disappearing from used car lots but it’s not because of great deals.

Instead, thieves are going to great lengths to steal the vehicles.

Akron police and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office are trying to determine if a group of people is responsible for the thefts of seven cars over the weekend.

On the night Aug. 27, crooks climbed onto the roof of Best Deals 2 Auto Sales on East Tallmadge Avenue, removed an exhaust fan, dropped into the building and stole several sets of keys.

Bob Jones | News 5 Cleveland

Surveillance video shows a man getting into a 2012 Toyota Camry and driving it off the lot. The owner of the small business, Ammar Yassim, said the man drove over a fence to get away.

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Bob Jones | News 5 Cleveland

A 2012 Ford Fusion and a 2015 Jeep Cherokee were also stolen. Akron police recovered the Cherokee and found the keys to the Camry and Fusion inside the Jeep. However, the Camry, valued at $10,000 and the Fusion, priced at $6,000, are still missing.

“Of course, I was upset. Trust me, I’m very upset about it,” Yassim said. “This is my question: Who are they selling it to? Who’s buying these from them, and they know these people are criminals?”

Yassim said the thieves damaged the Cherokee’s transmission. He has insurance on the stolen cars, but said his rates will go up when he files claims.

“I don’t think a normal human being will do this, and especially to be a young guy, he can get a job. These days we’re looking for employees to come to work and nobody wants to work,” Yassim said.

On Aug. 29, four cars were stolen off the lot of Regency Auto Sales in Coventry Township. The vehicles, which haven’t been located, are a 2011 Nissan Rogue, a 2014 Ford Escape, a 2017 Ford Fusion and 2012 Fusion.

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Bob Jones | News 5 Cleveland

Regency’s owner, Ed Mosa, said his office was broken into and ransacked. Keys were snatched, and cars valued at $30,000 were stolen off the lot.

“It’s gonna be hard, of course, but what can we do? We’re just waiting for the police, see what they’re going to do,” Mosa said.

Both owners believe the same group of thieves is likely responsible for all the the car thefts and fear it will continue.

“This is a gang, definitely. It’s not just one person. They work together,” Yassim said.

Yassim also told News 5 that the crimes put stress on his business that doesn’t typically move a lot of cars. He sells about five cars a month and the pandemic has made things even tougher.

“We’ve been struggling to make a living here. To sell cars, its not easy anymore,” he said.

Akron police said they are looking for the stolen autos and would like to hear from anyone who may have details on the crimes.

Anyone with information is asked to call Akron police at 330-375-2181.