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Lake County Sheriff warns vehicle thefts increasing, suspects becoming more violent

Wednesday night, guns were brandished to steal a car
Credit: WKYC
Lake County Sheriff

PAINESVILLE, Ohio — Lake County Sheriff Frank Leonbruno has issued a warning to residents.

Leonbruno says vehicle thefts throughout the county area are becoming more frequent and the suspects are becoming more violent. Tuesday morning, a Laketran employee was confronted by three young men who demanded her car keys and assaulted her. Luckily, she was able to get inside her building and the three men ran away.

Tuesday night, two males carjacked a driver at gunpoint on Greenfield Lane in Painesville; both of the suspects had guns. Police spotted the stolen car on State Route 2 and gave chase, but the suspects abandoned the car near Route 306 and ran. Police caught one of the suspects and are still looking for the second male, while both guns were found.

Leonbruno says young men are targeting the suburbs and are looking for open cars with keys and garage door openers left inside of them. The sheriff is telling citizens to not leave keys and garage door openers in vehicles.

The thieves seem to prefer to steal unlocked vehicles in the early morning hours.