The Columbus Police Department has arrested a suspect in 18 local robberies and a burglary that had taken place since mid-January in Hilliard, Dublin, Columbus and Grove City.

The Columbus Police Department has arrested a suspect in 18 local robberies and a burglary that had taken place since mid-January in Hilliard, Dublin, Columbus and Grove City.

Christopher Blaho, 26, was arrested Feb. 18 after a burglary at a residence on Schooner Court in Columbus (just below Hilliard-Cemetery Road). He had been under surveillance by Columbus SWAT. Officers conducted a traffic stop of Blaho, and property from the recent burglary was observed in plain sight.

He was arrested without incident, said CPD Robbery Sgt. Shaun Laird

After being arrested, Laird said Blaho confessed to other robberies, including the Starliner Diner, two Hilliard Subway stores and two robberies of the BP at 925 Hilliard-Rome Road. Police said he used the stolen money to support a heroin habit.

Blaho's last known address was in London, Ohio, but he had recently been living out of his minivan. Blaho had a prior misdemeanor for drug possession in another county, but had no other criminal record, CPD Det. Todd Cress said.

Blaho was charged with one count of aggravated robbery and one count of burglary. He is being held in the Franklin County jail. He was arraigned Feb. 21, and is looking at a total of 3-4 dozen charges, said CPD Sgt. Rich Weiner.

Weiner said the CPD, Franklin County Sheriff's Office, and the Dublin, Grove City and Hilliard police departments worked together on the investigation, and as a result, Blaho was under surveillance the last couple of weeks.

Dublin Police Chief Heinz Von Eckartsberg said Blaho was not a suspect in the Feb. 13 murder of Mohamed S. Hassan, 46, at the Sunoco station at 201 W. Bridge St. in Dublin.

Hilliard Police Chief Doug Francis said Blaho matched the physical description that witnesses gave of a man of a white male 5-feet, 9-inches to 5-feet, 11-inches tall, thin to average build, who was dressed all in black, wearing a mask, and was armed.

Francis said the Hilliard police "were running extra officers for the last several weeks" and the investigation was the main focus of his detective bureau. He said that while Blaho was involved in several Hilliard robberies, there were other recent robberies that continue to be investigated.

"Hopefully, this will allay some fears and our residents will feel a little bit safer that we have taken a violent criminal off of the street," Francis said. "However, we have to be cognizant of the fact that there are a lot of other criminals out there, and we have to make sure that we use good safety precautions. If you see anything suspicious, call us."

The Hilliard Division of Police can be reached at (614) 876-7321.

A police-sponsored safety forum for businesses and individuals will continue as scheduled at 6 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Safety Services Building, 5171 Northwest Parkway, Francis said.