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Suspect's slip-up leads to felony warrant in brazen tire dumping case

By Jordan Vandenberge,


For the second time in a month, Akron police have secured felony arrest warrants in connection with a suspect illegally dumping dozens of tires, saddling businesses or taxpayers with disposal costs. In the most recent case, which resulted in the felony arrest warrant for a 47-year-old man, an important clue was left at the crime scene.

In late May, surveillance video captured a suspect pulling up to the rear entrance of the Midas location in the 1800 block of South Arlington in a rented box truck. The suspect, who attempted to conceal his identity with a face covering, opens the truck’s sliding rear door and hurriedly begins rolling out dozens and dozens of car and truck tires. When all was said and done, the manager of the Midas shop, John Mann, said the suspect had illegally dumped more than 100 bulging, balding, well-worn tires.

“There is a mountain of tires,” Mann said. “What am I going to do with all of these? I have to pay for each and every one of those to be taken away and disposed of properly. That cuts right into my gross profit and bottom line. It’s a little bit overwhelming.” News 5

Like other states, Ohio deeply regulates the collection and disposal of scrap tires. In addition to having scrap tires taken to a special disposal facility, those that collect and transport scrap tires are required to obtain proper licensing. In the illegal dumping case, Mann said it appears the suspect had used the rented box truck to collect scrap tires from less-than-reputable tire shops looking to save money on disposal costs or the suspect had offered to dispose of the tires properly but, instead, decided to save money by avoiding dumping fees.

“It’s not cheap to do business the right way. If people can find a corner to cut, they will,” Mann said. “With some of these places that gave him the tires, I think they knew what they were doing. A lot of responsibility rests on their shoulders too.”

Now, unfortunately, the tires are Mann’s responsibility. He estimates the cost of properly disposing of the tires to be around $1000.

“What burden to business. What a burden and hardship it creates to businesses who have to incur costs associated with clean up not by their own doing,” said Akron Police Lieutenant Michael Miller. “The burden that creates and the hardship that it creates for businesses is that it has a trickle-down effect and a ripple effect for consumers. It’s unfortunately irresponsible… and it’s not only a nuisance, but it’s causing us to direct resources to things like this and take away, in some cases, eyes and resources to address more significant public safety matters.” Courtesy: Akron Police Dept.

Fortunately for investigators, the illegal dumping was captured on a neighboring business’ surveillance cameras, providing police with some idea of the suspect’s identity. Additionally, when Mann and detectives were combing through the mountain of tires, they discovered that a man’s first name, Gabriel, had been written on the tire.

Akron police detectives secured an arrest warrant for Gabriel Brown, 47, on felony dumping charges. Police describe Brown as 5’9” and approximately 180 lbs. He remains at large. The charges against Brown mark the second time illegal dumping has resulted in felony charges in Akron.

Earlier in May, Nathaniel A. Harris, of Akron, was indicted in Summit County on four counts of illegally transporting scrap tires and three counts of illegal dumping. He also had an additional outstanding warrant for illegal dumping. The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office also had a warrant for Harris’ arrest for open dumping.

Mann said he was surprised and relieved to know that a suspect had been identified and charged.

“I thought we were just up a creek. When [police] came back and said, 'Hey, we’re investigating it, and we found some leads,' I was shocked. I thought it was just over with. I thought I was going to have to deal with it. They did a phenomenal job,” Mann said. “Honestly, it wasn’t the amount [of dumped tires]; it was the fact that he could have at least stacked them. It looks terrible back there.”

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