Janurary 2015 news

posted Feb 1, 2015, 12:21 PM by Peter DiGravio   [ updated Feb 1, 2015, 12:37 PM ]
Wild animals attacks on the rise in the Battelle Darby area
Several hikers have reported attacks by wild animals taking refunge in teh Battelle Darby natural preserve. Several moderate bites were treated at nearby Doctor's West hospital. Other reports claim animals have even taken into taking refuge in residential homes from the cold weather, killing family pets in the process. Animal control has vowed to make sure residents are safe.

Local Pizza empire ceases 24 hour operation
Local pizza staple Hounddogs will no longer be open around the clock. Following a disturbance New Year's Eve where police were assaulted by patrons which resulted in the use of pepperspray on everyone in the establishment, management has decided the doors will now close at 3am and open back at 10am.

2 Arrested In Massage Parlor Raids Across Central Ohio
Agents with the Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force raided a number of massage parlors across the region on Wednesday. Ohio AG Mike DeWine said it was suspected that the parlors were fronts for sex crimes and human trafficking. "Today we are not just arresting those who are suspected of trafficking women for sex, we are also rescuing those who may be victims of this heinous crime," said Columbus Police Commander Gary Cameron. The raids took place at the following locations:

•    Amsun Massage, 128 East Olentangy Street, Powell
•    Amsun Massage, 1000 High Street, Worthington
•    Rainbow Massage, 5564 Hilliard Rome Road, Columbus
•    A private residence at 2144 Jasmine Court, Columbus

Two people were arrested as part of the investigation. Qing Xu and Xiao Shuang Chao were taken into custody. “I'm disappointed.  It's a black eye to our community,” said Bud McNichols of Upright Management. McNichols is the property manager who told 10TV that Amsun was not a legitimate business. He says red flags went up when he realized the parlor was keeping late hours, and that's not all. “Folks would park a distance away and walk up, and of course, that's not normal,” added McNichols. Police say a three-month investigation revealed women were forced to live at the parlor, sleeping on massage tables, never allowed to leave. Authorities rescued 18 women who they believe were living in servitude.  “A little bit of shock - realize their whole environment has been controlled by somebody else,” said Chief Gary Vest, Powell Police. “We don't want them in our back yard.  We want to send a message that you can't hide in plain sight and put your ads on Craigslist and put your ads on back page and think you can get away with it.  We're going to shut you down,” said Agent Nathan Emery, Homeland Security Investigations.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. To report activity you think may be related to human trafficking or to seek help, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-3737-888.  

Local paranormal expert murdered before going on stage
Garret Tyler, operator of the famous ColumbusSentinel.com conspiracy theory blog was set to guest speak at supernatural author Robin Pyatt Bellamy's book signing at the Columbus Athenaeum on January 11th when a member of Tyler's volunteer security team came into Tyler's dressing room and shot Tyler along with several of his aids. Tyler had grown rapidly into a local celebrity for his detailed blogging and charismatic speeches at the popular Aliens and Angels convention last October. Sources say Tylers killer, armature security guard  Brian McGraff had been under heavy financial strain and had turned to drugs. Sources say that Garrett Tyler had chastised McGraff's performance on the security detail prior to McGraff pulling a licensed conceal carry pistol and opening fire on Tylers entourage. Columbus bids Tyler a fond, yet sad farewell. Good luck Garrett, and may you find the truth you were looking for on the other side!

Marysville Police Look Into Multiple Reports Of Counterfeit Bills
Police in Marysville are investigating six reports of counterfeit money. The counterfeit reports started Sunday, and earlier this week, investigators said they connected one man to at least three cases. They’re currently not connecting the suspect to the newest cases. One incident took place at a restaurant, when a counterfeiter tried to use a fake $20 bill, and the other two occurred at separate Marysville businesses.  One of the businesses reported that someone had tried to use a fake $100, and the other business reported that it received $320 in counterfeit money. The alleged counterfeiter took off in a white truck.

Missing persons reach a 10 year high
Central Ohio has been experiencing a spike in missing persons reports filed with the police. The only similarity between the cases is that the victims were last seen in the evening. The reports span the entire spectrum of socioeconomic status from rural to urban and rich to poor. Areas outside the 270 loop were more prominent though OSU campus has also had record high reports.

Casino area Huntington site of robbery double cross
A second South Western bank was robbed early evening of Jan 4th. Emergency responders found that the bank was host to heavy automatic weapon fire and carnage. Remains of a night shift security guard were found scattered around the lobby where Police believe robbers attached chains to the vault door were hooked to vehicles in the parking lot in an attempted to tear it open. There appears to have been either an argument or a double cross that resulted in robbers opening fire on each other with crews outside shooting into the building. Abnormal sever weather hampered police investigations following the shooting as a police helicopter lost control in the limited visibility clipping power lines before crashing in the parking lot behind Westland Mall. The Columbus Police dept mourns the loss of the downed helicopter crew.

Authorities kill Short North Posse’s chief in gun battle
He wasn’t going to be captured without a fight. Officials had spent much of the past year and a half looking for Jermonte Fletcher, the reported leader of the Short North Posse drug-trafficking ring and a man called a curse by his mother. On Tuesday morning, they found him. Law-enforcement officers knocked on the door of a South Side apartment about 8:15 a.m. As they entered, Fletcher started firing an automatic pistol, and three officers shot back. Fletcher, 33, died at the scene.
U.S. Marshal Peter Tobin of the Southern District of Ohio called Fletcher “a really desperate armed fugitive.” Tobin told reporters at the shooting scene that members of a federal fugitive task force went to 265 Buffalo Court in the Southpoint Village Apartments after receiving information that Fletcher might be there. Pat Sedoti, chief deputy marshal, said a woman answered the door and told the officers that Fletcher was inside. Officers saw Fletcher at the top of the stairs, and the gunbattle began. “There were numerous shots from both sides,” Sedoti said. No officer was shot. In addition to the Columbus police officer and two State Highway Patrol troopers who fired at Fletcher, other task-force members were outside, although an exact number was unavailable on Tuesday. One member of the task force grabbed the woman who answered the door and pulled her outside. The Columbus officer removed an 8-year-old boy from the apartment after the shooting. The officer was hospitalized for an injury to his knee. Fletcher fired a Mac 10 automatic pistol, Tobin said. He had previously “made statements he would not be taken alive, so he was bound and determined” not to be.

Wanted Central Ohio Treasure Hunter Arrested In Florida
Central Ohio treasure hunter who was on the run from authorities is now behind bars. Tommy Thompson has been locked in a legal battle over one of the greatest undersea hauls in American history. Now, he's locked behind bars. It was on Tuesday when U.S. Marshals moved in. They had been watching Thompson and his female companion. The marshals say Thompson was paying cash for the Florida hotel room where he and his companion lived for more than a year. Thompson and Alison Antekeier were both taken into custody and are being held in a Palm Beach County Jail where they will be extradited back to Ohio.

Car crash claims lives of two federal agents
During evidence transportation of the Jan 4th Georgisville bank robbery, a police convoy was part of a fatal traffic accident that resulted in transport cars slamming into the concrete median on 670 east. Agents Jones and Brown perished in the accident, two police officers were taken to the hospital but have since recovered. Critical evidence was reported destroyed in the fatal accident.

Train derailment claims lives of emergency service workers
A train derailed late on the night of January 24th near the Mansfield airport. Investigators Monday morning discovered that a stolen Semi truck cab had been pulled onto the tracks nestled between cornfields with clear intent to derail the train. Several waves of police, EMT and fire fighters were called out to the disaster but perished on site due to toxic gases and explosions from the trains cargo sections. 

Teen ran over in Easton Towne Center parking lot
Cody Nevan died after being struck by a black Chevy Impala late Friday night. Witnesses say the act was deliberate with sounds of laughter and howling erupting from the car while it rapidly accelerated towards Nevan who was attempting to run to safety. Authorities are still searching for those responsible.

Talent show to serve as fundraiser for mentally handicapped
The Columbus school for the def will be hosting a the fundraiser which will charge $25 per ticket with the winner of the contest getting front row tickets for the Feburary 27th Nickleback concert. All proceeds will go to agencies that support Columbus's mentally handicapped and to the school for the deaf.

Human Trafficking Indictments Follow Massage Parlor Raids
Three people suspected of running massage parlors where prostitution was taking place have each been indicted on 15 different human trafficking related felony charges.  Qink Xu, 67, Xiaoshuant Chao, 56 and Estella Xu, 54 are now charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first degree felony that also carries a human trafficking specification. The trio is also charged with eight counts of promoting prostitution with a human trafficking specification, three counts of practice of medicine or surgery without a certificate and three counts of money laundering.

Businesses Say North Columbus After-Hours Club Busted By Police Was a Nuisance
Inside a north Columbus strip mall, small businesses are trying to attract customers, but say the business across the street wasn't making it easy. Randal Marks of Ange’s Pizza says he has noticed that some customers are less likely to come in his shop because of what happened across the street at La Rue Upscale Banquet Facility on Karl Road.  Police say the facility was operating as an after-hours bar. In August, police say customers were responsible for shooting out the windows of a nearby gym.  Later that year, a man was shot dead in the mall’s parking lot. Since October 2014, police say there have been four shootings associated with the business. “It was just one incident after the other,” recalls Dana Jones, who runs a nearby hair salon.  She says she's the last thing she needs is negative news about the area.  “It also impacts your family because they are worried about you leaving the salon late at night.” Police say shutting down after-hour clubs for alcohol or drug violations isn't the problem.  But when a club is responsible for violent acts, police say the law is not on their side.  “No one should have to live in fear because of dangerous activity in their neighborhood,” says State Representative David Leland (D) Columbus. Leland proposed a bill that would add "a history of violence" to the nuisance law and give police the power to board up business.  “If there are shots being fired at the property, Columbus and code enforcement can go out to (a) property and shut (it) down.” For people like Randall Marks, it’s a law he says that makes sense.  “I think that's a great idea they should uphold that.” When police raided the business early Friday morning, detectives say a mother, father and their 20-year-old daughter were living there.
Investigators say they also found evidence that pornography was filmed inside.
The business is the subject of numerous police runs.  Police say people were shot, robbed, and allegedly raped at or near the business.  Undercover officers say they bought drugs and alcohol, even though the business doesn't have a liquor license.

Gangster shootout leads to barn fire in Galloway
Heavy gunfire accompanied what police believe to be the continuation of a failed bank heist across from the Hollywood Casino. First responders found human remains as well as heavy assault rifles near a family operated farm in Galloway. Remains of burned cash taken from the Georgisville Huntingon bank was found scattered on site along with three burned vehicles, one of which had crashed into the hay barn leading to a fire that consumed much of the property. The family who's name is being withheld also perished that evening though it is unclear if they died before or after the incident as wild animals that have been a problem in the area fed on the corpses before police investigators arrived. 

The Banjo is back in style
Crowds have been gathering near Franklin Conservatory to listen to the gleeful strums of locals looking to bring the Banjo back. Campus area and Short north residents have created quite the buzz about the night time jam sessions, though several local music scene newspapers have called the park play "More hipster attention grab bull****" sparking a rash spray paint vandalism on several local record stores. 

Craigslist Couple's Bodies Likely Found, SUV Located in Pond
Searchers discovered a pair of bodies Monday afternoon in Telfair County that are likely missing Cobb County couple Elrey “Bud” Runion and his wife June Runion.
The Runions went missing in the area last week, reportedly on their way to retrieve a 1966 Ford Mustang that Bud bought on Craigslist, their daughter told WSB-TV. The Runions were supposed to return Friday to babysit their grandchildren, but they never arrived. A few hours after the bodies were discovered, law enforcement searching nearby found the champagne 2003 GMC Envoy the Runions were thought to be driving when they disappeared. Authorities in Franklin County have arrested a suspect in the disappearance and possible murder of the Runions; Ronnie “Jay” Towns was taken into custody on Monday morning after he turned himself in to police. Investigators interviewed Towns on Sunday regarding the disappearance of the Runions, then issued arrest warrants for Towns on charges of making false statements and theft by deception.


Woman wanted in connection with Church bombing killed in police raid
Known con artist and minor criminal Shi May was served a search warrant on the morning of January 27th. May has been implicated in the bombing of the Columbus Vineyard church last November, but when police entered her home May opened fire on the officers. Two officers died during the attempted arrest before police were able to fatally subdue Shi May. Father Norman Richards held funeral services for the officers free of charge at the newly renovated Vineyard Church where he personally held services stating that "It was with great bravery that these heroes hunted down this vile monster. It is unfortunate violence had to happen and that the American people were robbed of chance to put May on trial, but in the end justice had been served. Their sacrifices will be remembered by the church for all time."

'Braveheart Bandit' Arrested
A suspect in several thefts, nicknamed the “Braveheart Bandit”, lost his freedom after being arrested shortly after his mugshot was released. Christopher R. Peters, was arrested January 22, after being be targeted by the Columbus City Attorney's Office for allegedly stealing from multiple merchants in 2014. Peters, who was known as the “Braveheart Bandit” because of a distinctive triangle tattoo on his face, is also a registered sex offender charged with a felony count of failing to verify his address. Peters was caught multiple times in 2014 for stealing merchandise from Home Depot, Anderson's, Target and Old Navy, worth more than $1,700 according to the city attorney's office. “I can't imagine it was a smart career choice for a thief to get a blue triangle tattooed across his face,” said Assistant City Prosecutor Bill R. Hedrick. 

Father Norman Richards in critical condition
Father Norman Richards of Vineyard Church Columbus was rushed to Mt Carmel St Ann's emergency room following a head on collision Saturday night in front of the Josephinum Pontifical Collage. Richards has held the community together following the late October terrorist bombing of the Vineyard Church in Westerville.



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