$2,800 in stolen gift cards lands 3 men in trouble

Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 @ 4:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 @ 4:00 PM

An alert Warren County UPS store employee helped nab three men from Louisiana who were trying to mail 115 stolen gift cards back home.

Prosecutor David Fornshell said the three men had allegedly stolen about $2,800 worth of Walmart gift cards from stores in Franklin, Lebanon and Mason by forging credit cards, using other people’s card numbers.

Last week a grand jury indicted Darrin Barra, 20; Ronald Washington, 21; and Tevin Young, 22, all of New Orleans, on numerous counts of forgery, theft, misuse of credit cards, receiving stolen property and possessing criminal tools.

Fornshell said Barra allegedly had $1,200 worth of gift cards and could be sent to prison for 13 years; Young was allegedly found with about $1,400 in gift cards and could face 10 years behind bars. Washington allegedly had $200 in cards and could face five years in prison.

The prosecutor said the trio apparently obtained stolen credit card numbers and loaded them onto new cards — any card with a magnetic strip on it will do — and then used the bogus cards to buy real gift cards.

“Basically it is electronic laundering of money,” he said.

Fornshell said their downfall was when they went to the UPS store in Middletown to try and ship the gift cards south.

“I believe it was the way they tried to make payment for it seemed a little odd to the folks at the UPS store,” he said. “At that point in time they contacted law enforcement.”

Xenia police search for shooting suspect

Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 @ 6:49 AM

XENIA — A Vermont Drive man was shot Wednesday morning after hearing a sound outside his home, according to city police. 

  • The victim was taken to Miami Valley Hospital where he is in stable condition.
  • The victim was shot at least once, according to police. 
  • The victim’s wife and her baby were home at the time of the shooting. 

It’s unclear how many shots were fired.

Xenia Police Capt. Alonzo Wilson said the victim heard a noise outside the home and went to investigate. The victim was inside the home and was shot by an intruder outside, according to Wilson.

"There's nothing that we have right now to believe that there's someone walking around the neighborhood just randomly shooting people,” Wilson said. “That's not what we have here."

Police and emergency crews were dispatched to the 1900 block of Vermont Drive a little before 6:28 a.m. Wednesday. 

The victim’s wife called 9-1-1 after hearing a single gunshot. She witnessed blood on her husband before locking herself and her baby inside another room in the house, according to initial reports. 


Xenia man shot Feb 22, 2017 - 7:23 AM

INVESTIGATION: Taxation worker accessed ex-boyfriend’s filings

Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 @ 12:03 PM

            INVESTIGATION: Taxation worker accessed ex-boyfriend’s filings

An Ohio Department of Taxation employee accessed confidential tax records on friends and relatives, changing one to prevent him or her from having to take an identity quiz, according to an investigation released today by the Ohio Inspector General.

Kelly Bolen, who had worked for the department for 28 years, accessed tax records on people she knew — including an ex-boyfriend “from a long time ago — dozens of times in recent years and said she didn’t know it was a violation of agency policy.

OIG agents showed her where she signed off on the policy, according to an transcript in the report:

OIG: “Is this one of those where you see the policy, scroll all the way down real quick and hit sign off on?”

Bolen: “Unfortunately.”

OIG: “So you do understand that when you do that you’re acknowledging that you understand the policy?”

Bolen: “No, I didn’t underst… I mean I guess you’re… yeah.”

Bolen was fired Nov. 3. The OIG report was forwarded to the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office and Columbus City Attorney to consider charges.

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Corrections officer pleads guilty to providing phones to inmates

Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 @ 1:32 PM

            Corrections officer pleads guilty to providing phones to inmates

The former Montgomery County Jail corrections officer accused of providing cell phones to inmates to conduct heroin trafficking pleaded guilty Tuesday in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.

Michael Rose Jr., 29, pleaded guilty by bill of information to attempted extortion under color of official right in front of U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice.

“It’s so important to investigate and prosecute cases like this because corruption by a corrections officer harms not just the jail where he’s working,” said Benjamin C. Glassman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. “but (it) undermines confidence in law enforcement generally and our whole system of justice.”

RELATED: Corrections officer had money issues

The statutory sentencing range for the charge is from zero to 20 years and fines of up to $250,000. Defense attorney James Fleisher calculated Rose’s non-binding sentencing guideline range at 12-18 months. The plea agreement didn’t include an agreed sentence.

Asked by Rice if the statement of facts read aloud that included the efforts to sell multiple cell phones to inmates are true, Rose said, “Yes, Sir. They are.” Asked how he pleaded, Rose said, “Guilty, your Honor.”

Rose is scheduled to be sentenced May 23 after Rice receives a pre-sentence investigation report.

“This is very rare,” Glassman said. “Certainly, we are going to investigate and prosecute anytime that we find it, but the times that we find it, it’s very rare.”

MORE: 15 lawsuits allege mistreatment at area jails

An affidavit written by Frederick Zollers, a member of the sheriff’s office and a task force member, alleged that Rose, who started working at the Montgomery County Jail in April 2016, provided a cell phone to an inmate in exchange for cash.

That federal inmate, according to Zollers, used the telephone to conduct drug transactions while incarcerated. The information came from another another federal inmate, Inmate A, though that inmate did not say Rose was the corrections officer who brought in the phone. Nevertheless, the affidavit said, law enforcement agencies were able to corroborate the federal inmate’s statements.

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Officers did a sweep of jail cells in September 2016 and found an iPhone in Inmate B’s cell. Inmate C, according to the complaint, advised Rose brought in the phone in exchange for $5,000 cash and that prisoners were arranging for Rose to meet Inmate B’s friends or family members outside the jail to make the exchange.

Rose is captured on surveillance video arranging the delivery of outside food to Inmate D, according to the complaint. Phone records also indicate Rose’s cell phone communicating with a known associate of Inmate D.

Inmate C advised that Rose offered to provide another cell phone for $1,500 to $2,000 and that Rose could help sell several pounds of marijuana, according to the complaint.

Jay’s Restaurant closed tonight after grill flash-fire hurts 3

Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 @ 11:58 AM

            Jay’s Restaurant closed tonight after grill flash-fire hurts 3

A flash-fire Tuesday night caused by a natural-gas leak in a grill in the kitchen of Jay’s Restaurant inflicted burns to three employees, one of whom is still hospitalized today, according to Amy Haverstick, the restaurant’s owner.

The incident prompted Jay’s to shut down for the night Tuesday night, and the restaurant will remain closed tonight, Wednesday Feb. 22, Haverstick said. Jay’s is expected to reopen Thursday for regular dinner service, following installation of a new grill, she said.

Steve Brokamp, who has worked at Jay’s for 35 years, suffered third-degree burns in the incident and remains hospitalized, Haverstick said. He is conscious, alert and stable, she said. Two other employees were treated and released Tuesday night.

Employees told Haverstick they did not smell gas prior to a sudden flash in the kitchen that occurred shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday. There was no damage to the restaurant or its kitchen, Haverstick said.

Tonight’s closure will force the cancellation of a sold-out beer dinner.