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Three Arrested After Weeks-Long String of Car Thefts in Boone Co.

Three men were arrested following a weeks-long investigation by the Boone County Sheriff's Office into a series of vehicle thefts, car break-ins, and fraud in the southern part of the county.

The sheriff's office announced that early Thursday morning, Jermaine Brown, 18, of Cincinnati, Paul A. Allen, Jr., 21, of Cincinnati, and Matthew S. Rivera-Fernandez, 19, of Florence, had been taken into custody.

Boone County School Resource Officers identified Brown from captured video surveillance. Brown had also deposited stolen checks into his bank account in addition to using his rewards account when buying clothes or shoes from retailers with stolen credit cards, the sheriff's office said. 

Rivera–Fernandez was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon after appearing in court for an unrelated charge. He was interviewed and provided a full confession, the sheriff's office said.

Detectives obtained information that Brown and Allen were staying in a local motel in Florence. They had checked out yesterday morning but had left items behind, the sheriff's office said. Both returned to collect their possessions, which investigators said had been stolen by the two suspects, and were taken into custody early this morning at Burlington Pike and Woodspoint Drive by the Florence Police Department.

Both were passengers in a vehicle and taken into custody without incident. Neither was armed and both provided full confessions to detectives, the sheriff's office said.

Brown is charged with five counts of theft by unlawful taking - auto; one count of theft by unlawful taking - firearm, two counts of theft by unlawful taking from a vehicle ($500 or more), and two counts of forgery, all felonies.

Allen faces six counts of theft by unlawful taking - auto, one count of theft by unlawful taking - firearm, three counts of theft by unlawful taking from a vehicle ($500 or more), all felonies, and two counts of theft by unlawful taking from a vehicle (under $500), misdemeanors.

Rivera-Fernandez was charged with three counts of theft by unlawful taking - auto - complicity, one county of theft by unlawful taking - firearm - complicity, one count of theft by unlawful taking from a vehicle (More than $500), all felonies, and two counts of theft by unlawful taking from a vehicle (under $500), misdemeanors.

According to the sheriff's office, the men targeted Boone County after developing relationships with juvenile accomplices. Each would target unlocked vehicles and steal the contents from those vehicles, a news release said. The stolen vehicles were unlocked and the keys were left inside. Several stolen vehicles were located in Cincinnati, others were located in Boone County, and currently there are two vehicles that have not been recovered. 

-Staff report

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