Lake County Sheriff’s Office responds to wheel loader theft

Jan. 21—A 54-year-old male suspect is pending arraignment after allegedly driving a Case 721D wheel loader off of the Lake County Engineer’s Office’s property this weekend.

On the morning of Jan. 20, Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched initially to a suspicious person at the Engineer’s Office, located at 550 Blackbrook Road in Painesville Township. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the initial report was a white male entered the property and was seen in the salt dome. It was then reported that this unknown male climbed into the wheel loader and began to drive off the property.

Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the area and located the wheel loader operating on State Route 44 at Lakeshore Boulevard, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The suspect was driving west on Lakeshore Boulevard before deputies attempted to stop the wheel loader. The operator and suspect failed to comply. A slow-speed pursuit was then initiated with a max speed of 10 miles per hour.

The suspect continued west on Lakeshore Boulevard and turned north onto Corduroy Road, traveling into the Mentor Headlands area. Assistance was requested from the Mentor Police Department as well, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies and officers attempted to use tire deflation devices, however, due to the thickness of the tire size, they were ineffective.

The suspect continued north on Corduroy Road turning right onto Jordan Drive. He then turned into the entrance of Morton Elementary School and drove along the west side of the building before eventually coming to a stop, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies then approached the wheel loader and the 54-year-old male suspect was placed into custody after refusing to exit the wheel loader. He was transported to the Lake County Jail.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, no deputies or officers were hurt during this incident. The total distance of the Case loader travel was approximately 3.61 miles.

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