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Teen charged with downtown break-ins

A 19-year-old Powell man has been charged with breaking in to two downtown businesses last month.

Rogelio Ramirez Jr. is being held on a $20,000 bond on two felony charges of burglary and a felony and misdemeanor count of property destruction. Charging documents allege Ramirez, accompanied by a 15-year-old, broke into the Lamplighter Inn Liquor Store and The Merc on the night of Aug. 2 to steal alcohol and clothing.

Most of the liquor stolen from the Lamplighter was found in a nearby alley behind a wooden pallet, according to an affidavit from Powell Police Investigator Mike Hall used to support the charges against Ramirez. Some $71 worth of alcohol was not recovered and it cost $447 to replace the liquor store’s window, Hall said.

At The Merc, clothing that included two black hooded sweatshirts (valued at $27.95 each) were reportedly stolen while replacing the broken window cost $1,169, the affidavit says.

In both instances, rocks had been thrown through the stores’ windows to break in.

A preliminary hearing for Ramirez is tentatively set for today (Thursday), where a judge will determine if there’s enough evidence for the case to go to trial.

It was unclear on Wednesday whether the 15-year-old also had been charged.

Police say it was an ill-timed return to the scene of a separate crime, nearly a month later, that led to the charges against Ramirez.

On Monday, Aug. 27, Powell school district officials reported that extensive damage had been done to the inside of the old Southside Elementary School building, with gang signs, marijuana leaves and other writings spray painted onto the walls, Hall wrote in a separate affidavit. It was while police were surveying the damage that they caught a break, or perhaps more accurately, a break-in: two teens — apparently unaware that officers were there — tried to get into the mothballed building through a back door, Hall wrote.

The teens tried to flee, but were caught. One of them, the 15-year-old who allegedly was involved in the downtown break-ins, admitted to having been in the school building over the weekend. However, the teen generally blamed Ramirez for the graffiti and for coming up with the idea to break in; Ramirez and a teenaged family member, also alleged to have been in the school, generally blamed the other 15-year-old in later interviews with police, the affidavit says.

Ramirez’s Nike shoes appear to match prints found at the scene of vandalism at the old Southside building and at The Merc, Hall wrote, citing correspondence with the state crime lab. Prints potentially matching shoes belonging to Ramirez’s family member also were found at the old Southside, the affidavit says.

No charges have been filed in connection with the break-in and vandalism at the school.

In a Tuesday press release, Powell Police Chief Roy Eckerdt said police are recommending charges for two juveniles, the 15-year-old and Ramirez’s family member.

“The investigation is ongoing and the possibility exists that more local crimes may be cleared with the charging of these individuals,” Eckerdt said.

While serving three search warrants in connection with the case, Eckerdt said police also recovered a credit card that had been reportedly stolen from a vehicle this summer.

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