To give cops a leg up on thieves, German Village residents are encouraged to register their valuables on an online reporting system.

To give cops a leg up on thieves, German Village residents are encouraged to register their valuables on an online reporting system.

Lt. Robert Strausbaugh of the Columbus Division of Police said residents can provide identifying characteristics of their home merchandise through ReportIt - reportit.leadsonline.com - a free citizen property-inventory system.

The reporting system and several other topics were discussed at the monthly German Village police luncheon Aug. 25 at the Meeting Haus.

Police can cross-check the data through LeadsOnline, an Internet-based investigation system.

Residents can record their goods either through a serial number, pictures or other recognizable feature - color or a scratch, for example - and police officers assigned to pawn-shop detail can use that information to recover stolen items.

"When these guys take these things to the pawn shop, that's when we get them," he said.

The police division pays to be part of the service, which is open to all residents of the city, Strausbaugh said.

In other news from the meeting, officers said the numbers from a recent rash of car break-ins in German Village might seem high but are on par with what many other city neighborhoods are experiencing.

More than 30 thefts from vehicles were reported between July 1 and Aug. 23. Officers said it isn't unusual for summer months to be more active but cautioned residents about leaving merchandise in their cars, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

In related news, police responded to complaints from Katzinger's Delicatessen owner Diane Warren about repeated car break-ins in her restaurant's parking lot.

Sgt. Howard Pettengill said officers were assigned to observe the parking lot for a five-day period but did not witness any criminal activity.

Officers also said they've received multiple calls about a man who has been seen exposing himself in Schiller Park. They said the man is in his early 50s, has gray hair and drives a red Ford Fusion. He has been seen reading a book in the park and wearing short shorts.

Police told residents that if they see the man, they should pinpoint his location in the park so officers have a better chance at apprehending him.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

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