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Thieves hit pair of cellphone stores overnight

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Two competing Columbus cellphone retail outlets were burglarized about an hour apart early Monday.

Columbus police responded at 12:25 a.m. to a security alarm at Verizon, 1269 N. National Road, in the Clifty Creek Shopping Center.

A large rock was used to shatter the glass front door, Columbus Police spokesman Lt. Matt Myers said.

Police discovered the same scenario after the alarm went off at 1:30 a.m. at the AT&T store, 2616 Central Ave., he said.

“One would think there is a high likelihood that these two burglaries are connected,” Myers said.

Each store was first searched with police dogs to make sure the burglars weren’t still there before employees were called in to determine what was taken, he said.

Employees at the AT&T store, located north of the 25th Street Shopping Center, estimate the 10 stolen cellphones and four electronic tablets, including iPads and Notepads, are worth between $5,000 and $6,000, Myers said.

At least 10 cellphones and other electronic equipment were stolen from Verizon, but police do not yet have a value for that store’s missing merchandise.

Video surveillance shows at least three people were involved in the Verizon burglary and spent about one minute in the store before fleeing, Myers said.

Detectives plan to study images taken at both locations before releasing descriptions of the burglary suspects, he said.

Since police have entered the serial numbers of the missing electronics into their computer database, anyone who buys the stolen items could find themselves in legal trouble, Myers said.

“If someone is offering to sell these types of items at a cheap rate, your suspicions should go up,” Myers said.

“Folks need to realize that if they are pulled over at any time, and a computer check shows they have a stolen phone or iPad, they will be charged with possession of stolen property and could go to jail.”

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