Two Reynoldsburg residents were among four indicted April 8 by a Fairfield County grand jury in connection with the theft of metal materials.

Two Reynoldsburg residents were among four indicted April 8 by a Fairfield County grand jury in connection with the theft of metal materials.

One of the four, Timothy Harrington, 30, was caught by Reynoldsburg police on Feb. 4 in the act of stealing copper out of a vacant home.

Reynoldsburg police detective Mike Binder said others indicted included Kelly Cossin of Reynoldsburg and Brandon Minkos of Columbus.

The fourth indicted person had not been arrested as of ThisWeek's press time so police were not releasing his name.

Binder said Harrington was indicted on one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, 15 counts of burglary, two counts of attempting to commit burglary, six counts of breaking and entering, four counts of vandalism, one count of grand theft and one count of receiving stolen property.

Cossin, 26, was indicted on one count of grand theft and two misdemeanor counts of receiving stolen property.

Minkos, 29, was indicted on one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, four counts of burglary, one count of vandalism and one count of receiving stolen property.

Binder said the crimes occurred in Franklin, Licking and Fairfield counties.

Although these were not violent crimes, they were not victimless crimes, he said.

"Every year, there are hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen by metal thieves in the central Ohio area," Binder said. "Metal thieves are a huge problem and law enforcement is taking notice.

"This particular case was as close to a crime wave as we may ever see."

Binder said Whitehall police officer Ralph "Ed" Rickels helped investigate the cases in his jurisdiction.

Rickels said Whitehall police were noticing a lot of copper thefts, including nine air conditioners that were taken mainly from homes that were up for sale. One theft was of a $35,000 metal sculpture from a resident's yard, he said.

"I received a number of anonymous Crime Stoppers tips naming some of the people involved," Rickels said. "Then I saw similar thefts going on in Reynoldsburg, so I spoke to Mike and said, 'we may have the same players involved both in Whitehall and in Reynoldsburg,' and we immediately opened an investigation."

Fairfield County's first assistant prosecutor, Gregg Marx, presented the cases to the Fairfield County grand jury.

"This case is an example of the advantages to our citizens when officers from different jurisdictions are able to work together," Marx said. "The prosecutor's offices in Licking County and Franklin County were also very cooperative.

"These defendants all deserve a fair trial, but our office and the officers involved are taking these cases very seriously," he said.

Rickels provided tips for protecting property from such thefts. One is to padlock the electric disconnect unit outside the home, which will delay thieves from easily shutting off power. Other tips include writing down the brand name, serial number and model number of outside air conditioners, and if possible, have them monitored through the home's existing alarm system.

Binder said anyone with information regarding these or similar types of crimes should call the Reynoldsburg police department at (614) 866-6622.