June 27, 2016

Partly cloudy

Sting catches alleged locker thief at Medina Rec Center

MEDINA — Staff at the Medina County Community Recreation Center set a trap and caught a thief Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Timothy R. Carson, 27, of 3903 Reeves Lane, Medina Township, was charged with attempted theft, a second-degree misdemeanor.

Recreation Supervisor Kurt Gehring said the trap was set because of reports in the past few weeks of items stolen from locked lockers in the men’s changing room.

“We had a report of someone returning to their locked locker to find an empty money clip,” Gehring said.

Gehring said the thief had found a way to open locks, remove valuable contents like money, and replace the lock on the locker before leaving.

“Some people had no idea it was a theft,” he said. “We had a guy come in last week and say he thought he dropped money out of his wallet when he got changed.”

In another incident, a man came up to the front desk with a wallet in his hand. He told staff that he found someone else’s wallet in his pants pocket inside his locked locker.

To narrow the search for the thief, staff reviewed time stamps and video recordings to determine who was in the building at the times the thefts occurred.
“We kind of pinpointed it to one person,” Gehring said.

When Carson entered the center around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Gehring said employees set up a decoy locker with items inside and a lock they knew he could open.

“We went into the storage room and cracked the door and we waited,” he said.

Gehring said an employee saw Carson break into the locker and police were called.

“Obviously, we couldn’t restrain him, but we did tell him police were on the way,” Gehring said.

Sgt. Scott Markum said the Police Department is continuing an investigation and additional charges are possible.

Carson has a criminal record, according to online Medina County Common Pleas Court records. Court documents show Carson pleaded guilty to attempted burglary in 2011 following a 2010 incident involving a burglary at his neighbor’s home.

Carson wasn’t a new face to the recreation center. His membership was revoked for two years following a theft in 2009 from the center. Gehring said it’s possible the center may review the two-year suspension policy and opt for a longer ban for those caught stealing.

“We revoked his membership for two years. That was over in 2011,” Gehring said. “That’s certainly something we may be rethinking.”

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.