What started in May has turned into a string of smash-n-grab break-ins at cell phone stores in five counties.

It was late in May when police in Norton in Summit County say thieves smashed a front window at a Verizon store and in less than 30 seconds made off with $10,000 worth of display phones and other electronics.

Since then, police have reported about a dozen similar crimes in ten communities across the region.

In early June, thieves hit the AT&T store in Austintown, but a cement block failed to break the window, and nothing was taken.  An hour later that same day, the Cricket Wireless Store in Salem was the target. The front door glass was smashed, and nearly every phone in the store was taken. 

The number of these types of crimes has gotten the interest of Summit County Crimestoppers, and they are now offering a sizable reward.

"In this particular case we've authorized a reward up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest and indictment of the persons responsible for these crimes," said Mike Meyer, Crimestoppers Treasurer. 
Meyer, who is the police chief in Copley, says there is evidence linking the break-ins.

"From talking to the police departments in our area, there have been suspects that have been committing these crimes in many cities throughout northeast Ohio, and it would appear as if they are connected," Meyer said.