Statewide Crime News Briefs


Staff Reports



Troopers seize 48 pounds of marijuana in Summit County

BOSTON TOWNSHIP – Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers filed felony drug charges against three Ohio men after a traffic stop in Summit County. During the traffic stop, troopers seized 48 pounds of marijuana valued at approximately $192,000.

On February 12, 2018 at 9:05 a.m., troopers stopped a 2014 Honda Accord with Ohio registration for a following too close violation on Interstate 80 near milepost 175. Criminal indicators were observed and a Patrol drug-sniffing canine alerted to the vehicle. A probable cause search revealed 43 pounds of marijuana, 2 pounds of solid hash, 3 pounds of marijuana edibles and 950 milliliters of liquid codeine.

The suspect, Nathan Grootegoed, 22, of Hudson, Dante Petrus, 20, of Poland, and Marcus Carpenter, 21, of Cuyahoga Falls were incarcerated in the Summit County Jail and charged with possession and trafficking in marijuana, both second-degree felonies and possession and trafficking in hash, both third-degree felonies.

If convicted, each could face up to 26 years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine.

Ohioans For Concealed Carry, Inc.

“The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security.” — Ohio Constitution, Article I, Section 4

Lawyers for Ohioans for Concealed Carry (OFCC) and Students for Concealed Carry Foundation (SCCF) will argue before Judge Jim Slagle in Marion County Common Pleas Court against dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the unlawful policies of The Ohio State University (OSU), which grossly violate Ohio’s statewide preemption law, ORC Section 9.68.

OSU has asked for “summary judgment” in this declaratory judgment action, where the plaintiffs have asked for a court declaration that OSU’s policies disarming students and staff violate preemption. If we prevail in our challenge, OSU will have to pay our legal fees.

OSU is being represented by a high priced Columbus firm as “special counsel” to Attorney General Mike DeWine using taxpayer dollars. While it is the duty of the AG to defend state entities in such lawsuits, one must ask when an attorney’s duty is to advise the client that settlement (which we’ve attempted to reach) is in the public’s best interest. This legal position is something to consider as we select our next governor.

OFCC and SCCF are represented by Columbus attorneys Derek A. DeBrosse and Michael R. Moran. OFCC represents Ohio’s more than half a million concealed carry licensees.

Since 1999, the group has sought to protect rights of law-abiding Ohioans under both the Second Amendment and Ohio’s state constitution.

Attorney General DeWine Files Lawsuit Against DuPont for Releasing Toxic Chemical into Ohio for Decades

MARIETTA — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently filed a lawsuit against the chemical company DuPont, alleging that for decades, DuPont released a toxic chemical from its plant on the Ohio River, despite knowing the risks it posed to Ohio’s citizens and natural resources.

The lawsuit seeks restitution and damages for Ohio. It says DuPont should bear the cost of investigating and cleaning up contamination from the chemical — perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) — which DuPont used to manufacture Teflon products from the 1950s through 2013.

“We believe the evidence shows that DuPont kept releasing this chemical even though it knew about the harm it could cause,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We believe DuPont should pay for any damage it caused, and we’re taking this action to protect Ohio, its citizens, and its natural resources.”

PFOA, also known as C8, is a man-made chemical that is not found naturally in the environment. Exposure to PFOA has been linked to health problems in humans, including kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, low birth weight, and high cholesterol. It builds up and persists in the blood, and it is known to be toxic and carcinogenic in animals. It is extremely persistent in the environment, in both water and soil, and is resistant to typical environmental degradation processes.

According to the lawsuit, DuPont released PFOA from its Washington Works Plant for decades, even while its own internal research and medical staff concluded that PFOA was toxic to humans and to the environment, and that community members were at risk of exposure.

Instead of notifying the community or taking steps to reduce the risk, DuPont allegedly increased its use of PFOA, releasing more PFOA into the air, water, and land around the plant and contaminating soil and water in Ohio.

A 2017 University of Cincinnati study, which analyzed blood samples collected between 1991 and 2012, found that residents of the Mid-Ohio River Valley had elevated levels of PFOA.

The Attorney General’s lawsuit alleges, among several counts, that DuPont negligently caused environmental contamination and created a public nuisance by allowing PFOA to enter air, soil, and water in Ohio.

In the lawsuit, DeWine seeks relief including:

  • A declaration of DuPont’s duty to compensate Ohio for expenses related to the contamination.
  • Damages for injury to Ohio’s natural resources, including the economic impact to the state and its residents.
  • An award of present and future costs to clean up PFOA contamination.
  • Restitution damages for profits DuPont obtained through the conduct.

The defendants named in the lawsuit are E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (DuPont) and The Chemours Company, a spin-off business of DuPont’s that was founded in 2015 and assumed operations of DuPont’s performance chemicals business.

The lawsuit was filed in the Washington County Common Pleas Court. A copy of the lawsuit is available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.

Massillon Man Accused of Misusing Funds from Youth Baseball Leagues

COLUMBUS — Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a lawsuit against a man accused of misusing tens of thousands of dollars in charitable funds from the Massillon Little League and the Massillon Youth Baseball Association.

The lawsuit accuses Luther E. Copeland Sr. of violating Ohio’s charitable laws.

According to the lawsuit, Copeland ran Massillon Little League until 2016, when it stopped operating, and he incorporated Massillon Youth Baseball Association in April 2017. Investigators found that Copeland, who had control over the organizations’ bank accounts, diverted funds from the charities’ bank accounts into his own personal prepaid card account, then used the funds for personal expenses, including payments to an auto insurance company, a jewelry store, and casinos.

He is accused of misappropriating more than $25,000 since 2014.

“The defendant is accused of taking money from a youth baseball league and spending it at casinos,” Attorney General DeWine said. “The kids deserve better than that. We’re taking this action to hold this man accountable and to recover any charitable funds that were misused.”

In the lawsuit, filed in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, the Attorney General seeks restitution from Copeland and an order preventing him from incorporating, organizing, or serving in a fiduciary role for a nonprofit in Ohio. It also seeks to bring Massillon Youth Baseball into compliance with Ohio’s charitable laws and to properly dissolve Massillon Little League.

The lawsuit follows an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section, which enforces the state’s charitable laws and protects Ohio donors. Those who suspect a charity scam or questionable fundraising activities should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.

Patrol Charges Columbus Man with 5th OVI Offense

Columbus – State Highway Patrol troopers have charged a Columbus man with operating a vehicle while impaired, his 5th. Quantrell Jenkins was arrested after being stopped for a traffic violation on Hamilton Road near IR 70 in the City of Columbus on February 4, 2018 at approximately 2:20 a.m.

He is set for a preliminary hearing on February 14, 2018 in the Franklin County Municipal Court.

Authorities identify man found dead near I-270 on south side

10TV Web Staff

Updated: 01/30/18 04:37 pm EST

COLUMBUS — The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office has identified the man found dead near I-270 and US-23 on the south side on Monday.

The man was identified as 41-year-old Jeremy Wayne Boggs of Delaware, Ohio.

According to the sheriff’s office, a deputy was in the area retracing information from a January 22 non-injury hit and run crash.

The report from the January 22 hit and run stated the driver of the vehicle left the scene on foot and abandoned the vehicle. The sheriff’s office said a report was taken and filed for a follow up since it was a non-injury crash.

On Monday, as a part of the follow-up, the deputy attempted to contact the registered owner of the vehicle and was informed that the person had been missing for a week but no missing persons report was filed.

The deputy returned to the scene retrace the details of the hit and run and discovered Boggs’ body.

The sheriff’s office confirmed Boggs was the driver from the original hit and run. Their investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Attorney General DeWine Takes Action Against Columbus-Area Tree Trimmer for Repeat Violations

COLUMBUS — Mike DeWine announced a lawsuit against a Columbus man accused of repeatedly failing to deliver promised tree and lawn services to consumers.

Thomas Huber Jr. is accused of violating state consumer protection laws.

According to the lawsuit, Huber operates under the business name Emerson and Melanie Landscaping, though he previously used other business names including Huber’s Tree Care, Capital Tree Service, and Tree Doctor.

Investigators found that Huber contacted consumers at their homes and accepted payment for tree or landscaping services but then provided incomplete or shoddy work.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received six consumer complaints about Huber’s services since 2016. The average reported loss is about $400.

In the lawsuit, filed in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, the Attorney General seeks reimbursement for affected consumers and an end to any violations of the law.

DeWine offered consumers the following tips to avoid tree-trimming scams:

  • Be wary of contractors who show up unexpectedly offering work.
  • Check for complaints and research contractors carefully before hiring them.
  • Ask neighbors, friends, and family for references.
  • Get estimates from multiple businesses.
  • Don’t assume that the lowest bid is your best option.
  • Avoid large down payments. If possible, pay in increments as work is completed.
  • Get a detailed written agreement.
  • Check your cancellation rights.

If a contract results from a door-to-door sale, consumers generally have three business days to cancel the contract under Ohio’s Home Solicitation Sales Act. Sellers must provide consumers with written notice of their cancellation rights under this law.

Consumers who suspect a scam should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.

Field reports from ODNR Division of Wildlife Officers

Central Ohio – Wildlife District One

While reviewing reporting information in the deer harvest database, State Wildlife Officer Tony Zerkle, assigned to Fairfield County, looked for errors and discrepancies that could potentially be violations. The most common issue Officer Zerkle encountered was individuals checking in their deer after noon the day following the harvest. Officer Zerkle contacted many of these hunters, and the majority of the hunters claimed they were unaware of the noon cutoff time. Officer Zerkle explained that this requirement is printed in the annual Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations. In most cases, the individuals were warned and a notation made in their customer account.

During the 2017-18 deer muzzle loader season, State Wildlife Officer Josh Shields, assigned to Union County, was on patrol when he received a phone call from an off-duty officer traveling on U.S. Route 33. The off duty officer observed two hunters not wearing hunter orange, hop a fence along the highway. Officer Shields drove to the location, spotted a vehicle parked off the highway, and followed footprints in the snow until he located a bow hunter in a tree stand. The hunter was not wearing hunter orange and was hunting alone with an apprentice hunting license. The hunter contacted his partner who arrived at the location shortly thereafter. The second hunter had also failed to wear hunter orange. The hunters said they knew they were required to wear hunter orange, but that their orange vests had not been washed with scent neutralizing soap, so they left them in the truck. Officer Shields issued both men citations for failing to wear hunter orange during the deer muzzleloader season. The two hunters retrieved their orange vests from the truck and finished their hunt. Both men were found guilty in the Marysville Municipal Court and each paid $160 in fines and court costs.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two

During the 2017 gun weekend, State Wildlife Officer Matt Smith, assigned to Defiance County, was patrolling near the Defiance and Paulding county line when he noticed several deer running toward the roadway. Officer Smith watched the deer with his binoculars, and witnessed a pick-up truck run a stop sign and race toward the deer. The driver of the truck then stopped in the roadway and began to drive in reverse, in an attempt to stop the deer from crossing the road. This caused two other vehicles to break and swerve into the other lane. Officer Smith raced toward the suspect’s truck and initiated a traffic stop. The suspect admitted that he was trying to push the deer toward a friend. The man was issued a summons for hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three

During the deer archery season, State Wildlife Officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, received a complaint from a concerned resident stating that he heard a gunshot the previous evening and believed someone may have killed a deer. Officer Porter went to the location and observed a deer hanging in a tree behind a nearby residence. Officer Porter contacted the tenant of the property and conducted a brief interview. Through the course of the interview, it was revealed that the suspect had spotted the button buck in his yard and used his 12-gauge shotgun to shoot the animal. In addition to killing the deer before gun season, the suspect did not have a valid hunting license or deer permit. The individual also failed to game check the deer. The man was issued two summonses and the deer and shotgun were seized as evidence. The suspect appeared in court, was convicted, and paid $350 in fines and court costs. He was also ordered to attend a hunter education course. All evidence seized was forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.

While working litter enforcement along the Lake Erie shoreline, State Wildlife Officer Randy White, assigned to Lorain County, observed two men sitting on a break wall drinking beer. After finishing their beverages, the men disposed of their cans between the rocks. Officer White contacted them as they left to issue both men summonses for litter, but subsequently discovered that they had active warrants for their arrests. Both men were arrested, issued summonses for litter, and transported to jail. The men were later convicted in court and each paid over $300 in fines and costs.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four

While working enforcement during deer gun season, State Wildlife Investigator Travis Abele and State Wildlife Officer Mark Basinger, assigned to Athens County, met with a couple checking traps on a 4-wheeler. The female was carrying an unloaded shotgun and wearing hunter orange on her way to hunt deer. The officers found them using a trap that is too big to be set legally in Ohio. The female was also not carrying her deer permit. The couple had just left their parked truck, and the officers warned them about both violations. The female retrieved her deer permit from the truck, and the couple went back to checking traps and hunting legally.

During the 2016 deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Jared Abele received information about a deer being killed illegally on private property along Two Mile Road in Vinton County. The witness stated that she observed multiple deer feeding in a field beside her residence when she heard a gunshot. The witness went outside and observed a deer lying in the field and observed two men standing near a truck on the roadway. The witness took a picture of the truck and wrote down the license plate number. Once inside she heard another gunshot and observed the two individuals loading both deer into the truck. Officer Abele was able to connect the vehicle to an individual in northern Ohio. He contacted State Wildlife Officer Nathan West, assigned to Wyandot County, for assistance. Officer West interviewed the suspect and determined the suspect’s brother had shot the deer. Officer West learned the shooter lived out-of-state and was able to conduct a phone interview with him. Both suspects were issued summonses for multiple violations. The suspects pleaded guilty to the charges and paid a total of $1,354 in fines and court costs.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five

While on patrol one day, State Wildlife Officer Matt Hunt, assigned to Greene County, checked for activity at Spring Valley Wildlife Area. Officer Hunt located a vehicle parked on the wildlife area, near a privately-owned quarry. The vehicle had fishing equipment inside, but the owner was nowhere to be found. Having had prior complaints from the quarry’s owner about people fishing without permission, Officer Hunt entered the property where he quickly located a man fishing. When Officer Hunt contacted the fisherman, the man admitted that he did not have permission to fish in the quarry. One citation was issued for trespassing for the purpose of hunting or fishing.

Columbus Man Accused of Failing to Deliver Home Improvement Services

COLUMBUS — DeWine announced a lawsuit against a Columbus man accused of taking money for home improvement services he never provided.

The lawsuit accuses Jimmy Jo Hatfield Jr., of Columbus, of violating state consumer protection laws.

According to the lawsuit, Hatfield operated under several different business names, including James Hatfield Plumbing, Hometown Remodeling LLC, Hometown Improvements Inc., and Energy Enterprises. He offered various home improvement services such as bathroom remodeling, fence installation, and siding work, but he allegedly failed to do the work after taking money from consumers.

Five consumers filed complaints about Hatfield’s services with estimated damages totaling more than $10,000.

In the lawsuit, filed in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, the Attorney General seeks reimbursement for affected consumers and an end to any violations of Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and Home Solicitation Sales Act.

To help consumers avoid home improvement problems, DeWine offered the following recommendations:

  • Research contractors carefully. Ask for recommendations, and talk to past customers about their experiences with a contractor. Search for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Find out if the business is registered with the Ohio Secretary of State. Conduct an online search of the business name and the owner’s name. Be skeptical if you find no information. Some operators change business names regularly to make it harder for consumers to detect their record of shoddy work.
  • Get multiple estimates. For a large job, consider contacting at least three different businesses before making a final selection. Keep in mind that the company that gives you the lowest estimate may not necessarily deliver the best results.
  • Understand your cancellation rights. If a home improvement contractor does not have a fixed place of business or comes to your door to offer services, you may be entitled to a three-day right to cancel the contract under Ohio’s Home Solicitation Sales Act. Make sure you receive detailed written information about your cancellation rights.
  • Get verbal promises in writing. If a contractor makes verbal claims, make sure they are put in writing. Otherwise they are not guaranteed. Also make sure the written contract includes other important information, such as the estimated cost, the expected start and end dates, and the names of the individuals who will perform the work.
  • Be wary of requests for large down payments. It’s reasonable for a contractor to require a down payment, but be skeptical if you’re asked to make a large down payment (such as half or more of the total cost) before any work begins. If possible, pay in increments as the work is completed.

Consumers who suspect an unfair or deceptive sales practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.

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Staff Reports

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