ELYRIA — A man who apparently faked a heart attack Wednesday to distract Home Depot employees so two alleged accomplices could steal from the store was himself taken into custody on several felony and misdemeanor charges.
Michael Lopez Sr. is charged with one count each of theft and making false alarms, both fifth-degree felonies, obstructing official business, a second-degree misdemeanor, and failure to disclose personal information, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. He is being held in Lorain County Jail on $15,000 cash or surety bond, according to the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office.
According to an Elyria Police Department report, officers and ambulance personnel responded to the store for a report of a man believed to be having a heart attack. There, they found Lopez, 45, of the 100 block of Chesapeake Court, in the back of an ambulance, refusing to identify himself to police, saying “What the (expletive) do you need my name for, I haven’t done anything.”
EMS personnel and Home Depot employees told officers Lopez was a suspect in a theft, as were two other unidentified men who left the store before officers arrived.
Lopez continued to refuse to identify himself to police and denied any wrongdoing, but allegedly identified himself as “Luis Serrano,” age 41, to ambulance employees. That information did not match with anyone when checked by dispatchers, police said.
A store manager said Lopez allegedly fell to the ground near the exit doors of the store, holding his chest while two other men walked past him with a cart full of items. When employees chased the men, they took off running. Lopez then “told (the store manager) he was starting to feel better and stood up,” police said.
The unidentified suspects allegedly got away with five Milwaukee M12 Axis heated jackets, worth $219 each. Also reported stolen were a 20-volt reciprocating saw worth $129.99; a 25-foot Fatmax magnetic tape measure worth $22.97; a Milwaukee magnetic tape measure worth $19.97; a pair of Firm grip all-purpose gloves worth $9.99; and a Husky belt worth $4.97.
The total value of the stolen items was $1,368, according to Elyria police.
The other suspects, described as a short, white male with dark hair, and a tall, thin white male with long gray hair, reportedly were driving a silver Honda Civic that stayed in the area until Lopez was wheeled out to an ambulance on a stretcher.
Lopez was positively identified by sheriff’s deputies upon being taken to Lorain County Jail. He also had an active warrant out of Champaign County, and was taken to University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center for a medical clearance before the jail would accept him as an inmate, according to Elyria police.
Lopez’s criminal record in Lorain County includes numerous arrests for property crimes including theft, breaking and entering and possession of criminal tools, according to Lorain County Sheriff’s Office booking records.
Officers were planning to review surveillance footage of the incident this weekend, according to Elyria police.