The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 1, 2012

Jefferson Township burglar picks the wrong victim

Star Beacon

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP — A burglar who used stolen keys to enter a Jefferson Township apartment late Thursday night couldn’t have picked a worse target — someone acquainted with a Jefferson police officer.

As a result, a 30-year-old man was caught in the act by the officer and an Ashtabula County sheriff’s deputy and could be facing felony charges of burglary and theft.

The incident began around 11 p.m., when an off-duty Jefferson officer called to report a burglary in progress at a West Beech Street apartment. A deputy rushed to the scene in time to help apprehend the suspect, who emerged with hands raised.

The officer told the deputy a female friend contacted him to report her vehicle had been forcibly entered at her place of work. Her purse, which contained her driver’s license and a spare set of keys to the apartment, was stolen. The woman, fearing the thief would quickly use the license and keys to locate and then enter her apartment, asked her law enforcement buddy to double-check the premises.

The woman’s instincts were right. Upon arrival at the apartment, the off-duty officer noticed the door was ajar and he could hear someone moving around inside. The officer contacted the sheriff’s office — the agency with jurisdiction — for assistance.

The suspect was carrying the keys and woman’s license at the time of his arrest, deputies said. He also had another man’s debit card, according to a report. Several items were found heaped in the apartment, apparently loot the man didn’t get to carry away, deputies said.

Inside the suspect’s vehicle, parked nearby, was the woman’s purse and her satellite navigation device, according to a report.