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After attempted break-in at popular pizzeria, restaurant owner, residents discuss “serial burglar” in Bexley

After attempted break-in at popular pizzeria, restaurant owner, residents discuss “serial burglar” in Bexley

Jack McLaughlin

An individual with a record of breaking into East side businesses was recently arrested for the second time in as many weeks amid fears of a “serial burglar” in the Bexley area.

Brad Rocco, owner of Bexley Pizza Plus, was nearly the victim of a break-in during the early morning hours of May 14. Rocco received an alarm notification from the eatery’s security system at 5:15 a.m., and after inspecting security camera footage, he witnessed an attempted break-in.

“He entered our property from the rear alley, circled around the building, found a large rock and attempted to break one of the windows on the Roosevelt side,” Rocco said. “We have an audio sensor that was triggered by the sound of him trying to break the window. The sound of the alarm scared him off before the BPD got there.”


After conferring with others, including members of the South Eastmoor Civic Association, he was told that the suspect attempted to break into, or succeeded in breaking into, a handful of well-known Bexley restaurants along East Main Street. 

According to emails obtained by 614Now that were sent to the South Eastmoor Civic Association from Columbus Police, on May 9, officers responded to a call reporting a man kicking the door of a business on the 3100 block of East Livingston Avenue. Police arrived at the scene, and later discovered a suspect hiding inside the business.

After being arrested and interrogated, the emails say, the suspect admitted to multiple burglaries in the area, and has been linked to even more on the east side, spanning back to March of this year. According to Franklin County arrest records, the individual arrested for this incident was Mark Tilman McFarland.

Columbus Police did not wish to comment, and thus could not confirm whether or not they believe McFarland was responsible for the Bexley Pizza Plus attempted break-in.

The emails noted that detectives requested “a high bond” after McFarland’s May 9 arrest, but according to Franklin County records, McFarland was released on May 10 on a Personal Recognizance bond, although he was arrested again yesterday on a separate charge. At the time this story was published, he remains in custody.

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