Trish Bennett, Editor
CIRCLEVILLE – The Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office helped make the case against a group of seven people indicted last week as part of a multi-county theft ring.
The group, dubbed the “Band of Thieves” by investigators, are charged with crimes in Clark, Darke, Delaware, Miami, Montgomery, Pickaway, Preble and Shelby counties.
The 74-count indictment against the suspects was handed down by the Clark County Grand Jury on Dec. 8 and includes a break-in at Bubba’s Corner on U.S. Route 62 in Pickaway County, according to Sheriff Robert Radcliff.
Detective Casey Thress said the incident occurred July 11 when two of the seven suspects, Ricky Terry and Ricky Large, reportedly broke into the local store and attempted to steal the ATM machine.
“The suspects had a stolen WOW Cable van and backed it through the front doors,” Thress said. “The chain they were using broke on them twice as they tried to pull it out with the vehicle.”
Thress said a passerby witnessed the incident, and the suspects fled the scene when they noticed him, leaving behind the ATM machine and about $24,000 in damages. The passerby followed them, but they went off-road into a corn field and crashed on the railroad tracks between Ballah and London Road.
From there, the two suspects went to Greenbriar Street and reportedly stole a minivan, which ran out of gas a short time later on state Route 316. They then stole a Ford F350 work truck from a residence in that area, which was later recovered near Morse Road in north Columbus.
Thress said evidence from the vehicle was processed and turned up a Mountain Dew bottle that contained DNA. Upon testing, the DNA was reportedly a match to both Large and Terry.
At that point, investigators realized their suspects were part of the larger group that was wanted for thefts in multiple counties. The seven were indicted on state organized crime charges through the Clark County Common Pleas Court.
With the indictments in hand, investigators met at 3:30 a.m. Dec. 10 at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to coordinate the arrests, Thress said. That effort began at 5 a.m., and within three minutes, all seven suspects were in custody.
Charges in the indictments include engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, burglary, breaking and entering, safe cracking, vandalism, theft and receiving stolen property.
“It was a RICO (organized crime) case because of all the cases and counties that were involved,” Radcliff said. “Some of those counties had eight or nine different cases, and it was decided to take it to Clark County for the indictment.”
Investigating agencies included the Darke County Sheriff’s Office, New Lebanon Police Department, Brookville Police Department, Clay Township Police Department, Five River Metro Parks, Eaton Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Springfield Police Division, Preble County Sheriff’s Office, Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Miami County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson Township Police Department, Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, Perry Township Police Department, Columbus Police Department, Trotwood Police Department, NICB and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Thress and Radcliff joined other investigators Dec. 11 at a press conference in Darke County announcing the indictment and suspects’ arrests.
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal