With help from a man who installed a video camera in his garage, Tiffin police officers were able to solve at least five cases spanning about six months Sunday.
Tiffin Police Department executed a search warrant at the apartment of Richard E. Gomez, 43, of 18 1/2 Olive St. Sunday after a 200-block North Washington Street man reported at 9:12 a.m. his greenhouse had been entered.
Gomez was arrested, taken to Seneca County Jail and charged with breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony, and theft and retaining stolen property, first-degree misdemeanors, officers said.
The resident had a television stolen from his greenhouse about a month ago.
Officer Gary McClure said he did not report the theft but installed a camera. The greenhouse was broken into again Thursday night.
McClure said the resident checked his video surveillance camera and printed pictures. Officers would not have gotten anywhere in the case without the man's camera, he said.
"He's the real hero in this," Officer Bryan Bryant said.
Officers said once they saw the photographs, they recognized Gomez immediately, went to his apartment, saw stolen property outside and knocked on his door. No one answered, and they sought a search warrant, which was signed by Judge Michael Kelbley of Seneca County Common Pleas Court.
Bryant said the search warrant yielded two truck loads of items, including a set of cast-iron table and chairs, a patio umbrella, 14 sections of decorative fencing, two gas grills and about 10 bicycles. Bryant said he thinks Gomez used a wagon that officers found to transport items around the neighborhood.
"I don't think he just carried this stuff by hand," he said.