LIBERTY TWP., Ohio (WKBN) — A call warning police about a possible robbery ended in stolen merchandise being returned to a store.

The attempted clothing heist was foiled by police in Liberty Township. When officers learned about what was about to happen, they went to the area and watched the store.

“Surprisingly, we had a detective waiting in the parking lot for them. Somebody tipped off the cops that it was going down,” said store manager Danielle Liggins.

It was a brief chase that lasted less than three minutes and came to stop in Girard, resulting in three men being taken into custody.

The three have been accused of stealing merchandise from DTLR — formerly called The Villa — on Belmont Avenue in Liberty on Tuesday afternoon.

“Basically, they came in with trash bags. Half of the guys were distracting us, having us going to get shoes and everything,” Liggins said. “The other half were hiding trash bags, stuffing everything, emptying all our tables out.”

“We observed … approximately five males leave the store in two different vehicles — one with a garbage bag that appeared to be full of clothing items,” said Liberty police department Capt. Ray Buhula.

Police were already in the area keeping an eye on the store because someone phoned in a tip about what was going to take place.

Caller: “I’m calling to report that something’s about to get robbed in Liberty Township, and I was calling to give them a heads-up.”
Dispatcher: “What’s going to get robbed?”
Caller: “The Villa on Belmont Avenue.”

Police say they found a trash bag filled with about $900-worth of clothing inside the car. Back at the store, five other bags were filled with about $8,000 in merchandise.

“That would have been a big loss for us,” Liggins said.

The three men — identified as Michael Kish, Cory Richards and Michael Freeman — were all charged with felony theft.

“We take it very seriously, the moment we got the tip,” Buhula said. “Sometimes, these tips wont pan out, but it’s worth our resources to make sure we’re in the area, and we’ll be on the lookout for any type of this activity.”