SALEM - City police are trying to locate a man seen in surveillance footage using stolen credit cards at different locations, with the last incidents April 14.
"We're just hoping that somebody recognizes him," Det. Dave Talbert said Monday.
The incidents stretch back to last fall when cars were forcibly entered during the Salem-West Branch football game, a purse was stolen and the credit cards were used in Alliance.
St. Clair Township Police had a vehicle break-in complaint and the credit cards were used in Salem and in Chippewa in Pennsylvania. A credit card stolen from a car at Beaver Local High School was used in March at the BP gas station at state Route 154 and 11 in Lisbon.
The latest incident involved a credit card stolen from a vehicle at the Canfield Fairgrounds during the recent Angels for Animals giant sale on April 13 and 14. The card was used to purchase gas in Columbiana, then the card was used at two separate stores in Salem, at Tractor Supply and Sears.
Talbert said the same person has shown up in different surveillance footage from different locations. He was even wearing the same jacket and hat in two of the videos. He was described as 6 feet tall, weighing 300 pounds with tattoos on both arms. His vehicle has been described as a silver mid to late 2000s Chrysler or Dodge minivan.
In most of the cases, forcible entry was made into the vehicles and most of the incidents occurred during daylight hours or during large events. The losses have been estimated in excess of $5,000, at least in the cases police know about.
"He gets as much as he can from these cards before they're deactivated," Talbert said, noting high-dollar items were purchased, such as chainsaws and mowers.
The video surveillance photos have been released to the media, placed on a law enforcement network and placed on the police department's Facebook page. They've had some tips, but they've not proven useful. The case is multi-jurisdictional, but Talbert said there appears to be a tie to this area.
He said people should not leave valuables in their car and if they do, they should not leave them in the open where they can be seen and should not leave vehicles unlocked. He said people should keep an eye on their credit cards and report it right away if they're missing or stolen so they can be deactivated. People should also make sure their card is signed.
Talbert said retailers play a part, too, because they don't identify people and don't pay attention. He said they make it easy.
Anyone with information about the man in the photograph or the videos on Facebook should call the police at 330-337-7811.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org