Barely two weeks after its grand opening in Avon, Mitchell’s Ice Cream received an unwelcoming surprise when a burglar broke in and stole a safe from the store.
The safe, minus cash, was recovered by the Westlake Police Department in Cleveland last week, while they were investigating a related robbery in their city.
Avon police responded to an open side service door on May 29 to Mitchell’s Ice Cream, . Owner Michael Mitchell was notified.
One item missing from the store was a metal safe that had cash in it.
The safe was recovered days later after Westlake Police, acting on a tip from the Cleveland Police Department, searched the home of Thomas Yafanaro, 48, at E. 55th and Huss in Cleveland.
“We suspected him for (the robbery of) (in Westlake),” Westlake Police Lt. Ray Arcuri said. Yafanaro was also suspected in similar crimes in North Ridgeville. “The safe was at the back door, upside down. It was blocking the doorway.”
Arcuri said when they shined their flashlights through the window they could see “Mitchell’s” plate on the bottom of the safe.
“Avon had given us a perfect description of the safe,” Arcuri said. “When we opened it, there was change and coupons, but no cash.”
He said police suspected Yafanaro turned the safe upside down to remove the cash through a slot. The safe had not been bolted down at the store.
Yafanaro was arrested and charges are pending related to the Westlake case. He is expected to face charges of burglary and/or receiving stolen property charges.
According to , Yafanaro has a criminal history back to 1990. It includes breaking and entering, vandalism and safe-cracking. He is currently on probation for a 2010 receiving stolen property case.
He has not yet been charged in the Avon burglary.