Vehicle, credit card and pistol thefts reported recently in Washington Court House are allegedly linked to a “team” of “dope boys” and “prostitutes” working across central Ohio.
A case against Kyle R. Johnson from Columbus was heard Monday in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas. The 32-year-old was arraigned on eight felony charges including grand theft of a firearm, theft, misuse of a credit card, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and receiving stolen property.
Trent Dye, ex-councilman on the Washington C.H. City Council, reported to the police department someone had broken into his Ford Taurus at his Greensview Lane home Nov. 28 and removed a 9mm semi-automatic handgun.
That same day, another resident on Greensview Lane reported to police that a laptop, sunglasses, pocket knife, and wallet containing cash, license and credit card were missing from inside a Chevy Silverado.
The next day, Nov. 29, 2016, another resident on Greensview Lane reported that someone had stolen a credit card and gift cards from his vehicle. The resident stated to police that someone had made purchases with the cards at several stores in Washington Court House totaling $1,784.47.
The suspects who allegedly stole the credit cards then allegedly used an identification card from another theft to present along with the stolen credit card when making purchase transactions.
The Washington Court House Police Department checked the store surveillance videos and along with the information on the rewards cards were able to identify Johnson as a suspect.
Two other suspects were allegedly seen in the surveillance videos: a 37-year-old Leesburg man and 35-year-old Melissa Thompson of Mt. Sterling.
In the store videos the suspects are allegedly seen driving a Ford Expedition with New York license plates that was reported stolen from a gas station by the Bexley Police Department near Columbus. The driver had left the keys in the vehicle and was inside the gas station when the vehicle was stolen.
A few days later the police reportedly found the Expedition on Forest Street in Washington C.H. At the same time, the police located on the same street a Nissan Versa reported by the Columbus Police Department to be stolen.
While the police department processed the two stolen vehicles, the suspects allegedly hid nearby and watched, and then stole a Dodge Stratus from North Main Street in Washington C.H. and left for Columbus.
The Stratus was reportedly recovered a short time later by The Ohio State University Police Department.
Allegedly, many items located in the stolen vehicles matched the items purchased with the stolen credit card and gift cards.
Johnson’s next pre-trial hearing is scheduled for June 12 in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas at 9 a.m.
Thompson, the Mt. Sterling woman identified in video surveillance as a suspect, reportedly gave a statement to the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office about the network of stolen vehicles, credit cards and pistols. The Washington Court House Police Department then requested to interview her.
She told the police that it’s possible other individuals could be involved in the incidents as they were a “team” and had “prostitutes” to go out and buy and sell items, reports said.
Thompson reported to police that “Johnson handled the guns and that they were traded to “dope boys” in Columbus.” (A “dope boy” is a drug peddler known to sell heroin, crack or cocaine.)
Thompson admitted the thefts were related to drug habits and “advised that most of the time she just stayed high and did what she was told,” reports said.
Thompson plead guilty May 1 to grand theft of a firearm, theft, misuse of a credit card, and grand theft of a motor vehicle for her involvement in the incidents.
Her sentencing is scheduled for June 12.
No record was found for charges against the 37-year-old Leesburg man identified as a suspect in the incidents.
Ashley may be contacted by calling her at (740) 313-0355 or by searching Twitter for @ashbunton