ELYRIA — Two guitars, including one worth at least $10,000, were recovered by Elyria police after being stolen from their owners last weekend.
Two men are in custody on two counts each of receiving stolen property, and tips from citizens were “certainly very helpful” to officers who solved the case, Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino said Thursday.
Derrick Ray Jr., 26, who police said is homeless, is charged with two counts of receiving stolen property, both first-degree misdemeanors. He was arraigned Thursday in Elyria Municipal Court, where bond was set at $2,000 cash or surety, according to court records.
Ray was being held in Lorain County Jail as of Thursday evening. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for June 12, also in Elyria Municipal Court.
Laron Trice 43, of the 300 block of East Avenue, also faces two counts of first-degree misdemeanor receiving stolen property. He also was being held on $2,000 cash bond in Lorain County Jail following his arraignment Thursday, with a pretrial also scheduled June 12 in Elyria Municipal Court.
In a report taken the afternoon of May 19, musicians Drew and Claudia Doman told police they returned home at 1 a.m. May 19 and parked their minivan on the east side of the 100 block of Middle Avenue, leaving two electric guitars inside.
When they returned to the car at 4 p.m. that same day, “they realized their vehicle doors were unlocked” and a white Fender Stratocaster and a Michael Kelly electric guitar on loan to Drew Doman from its owner were missing. Also missing was a hooded jacket belonging to Claudia Doman, according to the police report.
Drew Doman reported that the Fender, purchased in 1979 for $500, is now worth an estimated $10,000, according to the police report. No estimated value was given for the Michael Kelly guitar, which was on loan to Drew Doman from a Lorain man.
Officers checked surveillance footage in the area and saw a man carrying a guitar case walk past a camera about 2 a.m. the morning of the theft, according to the report. Another video showed the man checking car doors to see which were unlocked, entering the minivan, taking the guitars and the jacket and walking away.
The suspect, described as a black male of average height, stocky with a bald head and full beard, also was seen wearing Claudia Doman’s jacket in one of the video feeds, according to Elyria police.
Believing the suspect might be a resident of an apartment complex on East Avenue because he was on foot, officers checked that area and stayed on the lookout for suspects matching the description, which was distributed to all officers. That same building is where Trice lives, Costantino said.
Costantino said calls from the public helped police solve the case. He said Ray admitted to officers that his drug addiction led him to steal.
Such thefts often are crimes of opportunity committed by people who specifically look for unlocked cars or residences, and Costantino recommended citizens not leave valuables in their cars and always lock their car doors.
Ray has a lengthy criminal record in Lorain County, including charges of assaulting police officers and multiple charges of theft, according to jail records. No previous arrests for Trice were found in Lorain County Jail records.