Two men arrested for alleged ‘smash and grab’ liquor store theft

Fort Wayne Police Department officers arrested two men early Tuesday after they reportedly broke out the glass in the door to a local liquor store and took 22 bottles of expensive liquors.

Suspects have made a series of similar “smash and grab” thefts recently, often hitting more than one store during the same period of time, a Fort Wayne Police Department report said.

After hearing a report of a similar theft before 4 a.m. at a liquor store in New Haven, some Fort Wayne Police officers positioned themselves along the route from New Haven back to Fort Wayne, a police report said. They soon then received a report of that glass had been broken at the Belmont Beverage store in the 2700 block of Maplecrest Road.

Fort Wayne officers in other locations also responded to the reported break-in at Belmont Beverage.

One officer encountered a speeding white van near Moeller and Adams Center roads and began chasing it, police reported. Other officers joined the pursuit, and one was able to put down a tire deflation device, which flattened the tires on the van.

The van driver continued to flee, going south on Meyer Road and west on Oxford Street, though the speed dropped from about 80 mph to 20 to 30 mph, the report said. Near Bueter and Brentwood avenues, a passenger jumped out of the van and ran.

A New Haven Police Department officer in the area detained a man he encountered nearby, Damion L. Guy, 41, and Fort Wayne Police officers reportedly identified him as the man they saw bail out of the van and run, the police report said.

The van driver, Edward J. Hope, 53, also was caught by police after fleeing from the vehicle, police said.

Inside the van, they found two tote bags containing the liquor, which included whiskey, tequila and cognac, police reported.

Police said they arrested both men, but didn’t specify the charges. Guy also was arrested on an outstanding warrant for domestic battery.