In some central-Toledo neighborhoods, he's called “The Entrepreneur.”
Toledo police know him as Walter Ramsey, the man accused of taking or damaging property valued at $20,000 from houses under construction between the 600 and 1500 blocks of Norwood, Fernwood, and Oakwood avenues.
“He's literally taking the kitchen sink,” Detective Victoria Woodard said.
She filed felony warrants yesterday charging Mr. Ramsey, 41, whose last known address is 230 13th St., with receiving stolen property and value of stolen property. He was not in custody last night, but is to appear in court tomorrow on a related charge.
Police said everything from lumber to bathtubs was removed from the site between July 13 and Dec. 3. The material often was taken the day after it was installed in the approximately 35 two-story houses for lower-income families being built by Neighborhood Revitalization Partners of Cleveland.
The suspect previously was charged with felony vandalism after taking a bag of copper pipes, valued at $5, from the site between the 900 and 1100 blocks of Oakwood in July. To replace the pipes and repair damage from their removal was estimated at several thousand dollars.
Police have received about 50 reports of material taken from the site or damage that occurred during the break-ins and thefts. Some of the stolen items included studs, walls, toilets, overhead garage doors, and service doors, the detective said. “When something happened, it was like a domino effect, something would happen to other areas,” said Matt Regets, NRP property manager.
When windows were taken, the houses couldn't retain the heat needed for the dry wall, which slowed the construction process.
“We lost some time. We would take three steps forward and two steps backward,” Mr. Regets said.”
Because of the thefts, NRP broke up its deliveries so it only shipped the material it needed for a one-day job at the site.
The company was especially cautious of its lumber supply and tried to store items in the basement areas of the houses, he said.
Detective Woodard said the suspect was “bold” and would carry items in daylight after the construction crews left. She said he would sell the material for money to feed his crack habit.
Some of the windows were found in a vacant house in the area of Fernwood and Palmwood avenues. About a dozen windows have been recovered.
The construction project, called TCCN Homes, started in mid-June and is expected to be completed by the end of the month.
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