Short North Businesses Frustrated with Serial Criminal

COLUMBUS (Steve Levine) -- Short North businesses are fighting back against a career criminal who's been preying on the neighborhood.

Eric Reed, 51, has been arrested five times within the past three months for charges including disorderly conduct, theft, assault, open container violations, and public indecency. A warrant was just issued for his arrest Monday afternoon, in connection with the latest crime he's accused of.{}

"It's very frustrating, we don't have time to do this," said "Sprite", a manager at Big Fun Toys on North high Street. Sprite says Reed attempted to steal a Marvel Action Figure from the store Friday afternoon; an hour after Reed allegedly exposed himself in front of The Flower Child Clothing store a few blocks down the street from the novelty shop.{}

"He just dropped his drawers and showed his package," said Joe Valenti, Flower Child Clothing store owner. "He accosted a woman, he picked up food and threw it at people."

Reed is no stranger to police. He has an extensive criminal history that dates back a decade.

Short North business owners are demanding answers why Reed is back on the streets, within days of being arrested by police.

"Something is very wrong," said Sprite. "He is arrested so many times and he is still out here."

"The problem with alot of these charges, even though they are multiple, they are low level counts," said Bill Hedrick, with the Columbus City prosecutor's Office.

Reed has been jailed 38 days for his recent string of crimes in the Short North. He was placed on a year's probation last month, for stealing clothes inside Flower Child earlier this year.

The prosecutor's office filed a warrant for Reed's arrest for stealing from the toy store. Hedrick says he could face extensive jail time for violating probation if he's convicted.

"We would like significant jail time if possible," said Hedrick

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