East Cleveland robbery hits close to home

By CHARRAH RIECE | 7/2/2014, 9:58 a.m.
After shattering the glass, the thieves were in-and-out like clockwork and were checking out of Wal-Mart by 7:05 a.m., toting ...
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They say, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

There’s no place this cliché rings more truth than in the city of East Cleveland.

For a city that’s fighting annexation, its mayor, the library against the school board and each other so vigorously, it’s amazing that crime doesn’t make the list.

The Call & Post’s own Felicia C. Haney experienced this firsthand when she had to play Penny and solve her own crime, assisting an Inspector Gadget-like East Cleveland police department.

Haney’s car was burglarized last Wednesday morning on an East Cleveland residential street, the same street where East Cleveland mayor Gary Norton resides. In fact, the incident occurred directly in front of his home to be exact. And although Mayor Norton wasn’t being a nosey neighbor, she’s sure someone saw something.

She is even offering a cash reward for more information leading to an arrest.

The suspects – known in the streets as Buddha and Shawn (or Sean) – are believed to be brothers and have been referred to as “The Saywell Boys.” They frequent the blocks between Saywell and Phillips Avenues in the East 123rd Street area.

Shawn (or Sean) reportedly was recently released from prison after serving a two-year sentence. This is probably the reason why he has his girlfriend – who rounds out the thug trio – doing all of the on-camera crimes like swiping Haney’s stolen credit cards at the local South Euclid Wal-Mart as well as their trusty neighborhood convenience store, USA Food Mart located at 1163 E. 123rd St. at the corner of Phillips Avenue.

USA Food Mart allowed them to make out-of-the-ordinary $50-plus dollar purchases at 7 a.m. with no identification. Haney said one of the store owners personally informed her that “We are not allowed to ask for I.D.”

Whose rule that is, has yet to be determined.

But all of this handy dandy detective work was not done by E.C.’s finest, who directed Haney to wait for her case to come across a detective’s desk before a phone call for further information would be made. With her passport, digital camera, wallet, debit and credit cards missing, Haney wasn’t in the mood to shovel [insert another 4-letter word for poop] and, instead, decided to play Sherlock and hunt the suspects down herself.

In the end, she personally delivered a picture of the three suspects to the doorstep of the detective bureau’s door.

After initially notifying the police, directly following the incident, Officer Anthony Joiner arrived on the scene about 20 minutes later to take the report. According to Haney, Joiner approached the scene, being careful not to step in the sea of broken glass lying in the driveway, and eyeballed her vehicle without ever touching it.

“He looked at the broken window, peered inside leaning toward the break and then proceeded toward the porch to get out of the rain and jot down the report,” said Haney. “I mean… no pictures were taken… he never even opened a car door to take a look at the inside, see if they left anything behind… nothing! The basis of his report was to take down all of my personal information – that I had already been asked over the phone – peg the incident as “criminal damaging” and give me a report number. Literally, that’s all that was on the report. He didn’t even write down what happened. I mean, he may as well have hashtagged me with a ‘#thatisall’ as he hurriedly got out of dodge. I don’t know who got away faster, the police or the crooks.”