City Hall’s Crime Victims
Underscoring the fact that crime can occur anywhere, the car of a city council aide was broken into at City Hall on the same day earlier this month that Cincinnati and Hamilton County officials stood on the front steps of the building to reveal plans for erecting a temporary jail.
Sometime during the day Jan. 17, an unidentified person smashed a window on the vehicle owned by Tracy Schwetschenau, chief of staff for Councilman Chris Bortz, and stole a Sirius satellite radio while the car was parked in the lot. The same lot is within view of City Hall’s northern windows and is used by Mayor Mark Mallory, all city council members and their staffs. It’s located about two blocks from police headquarters.
Schwetschenau had parked the car there around 7 a.m., just before sunrise. She discovered the theft as she went outdoors later that afternoon. Besides taking the radio, the thief damaged the dashboard console of the 2000 Lexus RX300, all without ever opening the door.
“They didn’t steal a thing other than the radio,” Schwetschenau said. “It’s a random act. It’s a crime of opportunity, and I gave them an opportunity.”
This isn’t the first time that vehicles at City Hall have fallen prey to criminals.
When Phil Heimlich was a city councilman in July 1999, someone broke into his car while it was parked overnight in front of City Hall, within view of the mayor’s and city manager’s offices. Nothing was taken from Heimlich’s 1994 Mercury Capri convertible, but he had to pay about $330 to repair the window.
In December 2001, someone threw a brick through the window of a car owned by Dick Hammersmith, who was Councilman Chris Monzel’s chief of staff at the time.
— Kevin Osborne