CLEVELAND, Ohio – A grand jury filed a 50-count indictment on Friday accusing four men of running a multi-district theft ring.
The group leader, identified in the indictment as Joseph Adams, sent members of the group on missions to construction sites in the middle of the night to steal equipment and catalytic converters, and paid the members in drugs and cash according to the indictment.
Adams is charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree crime commonly known as extortion, and drug trafficking involving stolen property and weapons. He is charged with conspiracy, alongside John Harrison, Jason Jachna, and Dwayne Robertson, of conspiracy to commit a second degree crime.
Harrison, Jachna and Robertson each face multiple serious thefts.
All four men are scheduled for trial Thursday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office announced the charges in a press release Friday.
A Cleveland Police-led task force investigating property crimes under an organized crime commission within the Ohio Attorney General has been investigating the crime ring since 2019.
The group stole catalysts, landscaping equipment, power tools, heavy construction machinery, vehicles, and trailers, including those that transported copper and other materials. According to court records, the group stole or attempted to steal vehicles belonging to the Cleveland City Water Authority, two men and a truck, numerous car dealerships in northeast Ohio and the Westlake Montessori School. They also stole catalytic converters from six vehicles owned by the Prentiss Autism Center’s Positive Education Program, the indictment said.
The group sold the equipment they could, scrapped the metals and kept what was left, with Adams acting as a fence, the indictment said.
Seven people, including Adams, were charged with theft of equipment in December 2019. Investigators later received a search warrant for a property on Clark Avenue in Cleveland and found a Ruger pistol
The task force has recovered more than $ 500,000 in stolen property to date and estimates the group is responsible for more than $ 1 million in property theft, the press release said.
Cuyahoga County Attorney Michael O’Malley’s office is following the case.