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Case of suspect who allegedly robbed bank after buying engagement ring goes to grand jury

Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 5:13 PM

Dustin Pedersen's case on the charge of aggravated robbery will now be considered by a Butler County grand jury

A Butler County grand jury will now consider the case of a Trenton man charged with robbing a bank last month.

Dustin F. Pedersen, 36, is charged with aggravated robbery for allegedly robbing the Fifth Third Bank on Dec. 16. According to Trenton police, he presented his girlfriend with ring the next day. Police believe that could be a motive for the robbery.

MORE: Engagement ring may be motive for Trenton bank robbery

Pedersen was in court today for a preliminary hearing, during which Trenton police recounted evidence gathered against Pedersen.

Detective Sean Gill said records from Zales jewelry store indicate that Pedersen purchased a ring worth just under $4,500 less than an hour after the Dec. 16 robbery at Fifth Third bank on State Street.

The robber walked into the bank and began pacing, according to witnesses Gill talked with. He was wearing glasses, a jacket, white gloves and an orange Titleist hat.

“He passed a note asking for $20,000 with no dye packs,” Gill said. He also indicated he had a bomb strapped to himself.

As the teller counted out the money, the robber grabbed the first stack and ran, Gill said. He got $8,800.

MORE: Middletown man sentenced for setting fire after argument

Pedersen was not developed as a suspect until the Dec. 22 bank robbery of US Bank on Tylers Place Boulevard, Gill said. He received a call from a woman who said Pedersen was on Facebook wearing hats that the robber in both heists had on.

A neighbor’s outdoor security cameras caught Pedersen leaving the residence on the morning of Dec. 16 wearing the same clothing as the robber.

West Chester police also have issued a warrant for Pedersen’s arrest in connection with the US Bank robbery.

Gill said Pedersen denied robbing the Trenton bank but admitted the bank photos of the robber do look like him. He said he got money from his mother via Western Union for $2,000. But Gill said that story did not check out.

During questioning by Pedersen’s attorney Jim Cooney, Gill said there are jail phone calls between Pedersen and his fiance about the bank robberies.

MORE: Last of 3 ‘Cincinnati White Boys’ gang members sentenced in crime spree

Found in a car driven by Pedersen were the sunglasses, gloves and hats police believe he wore in the robberies, Gill said.

Pedersen has been held in the Middletown City Jail since Dec. 16 on $250,000 bond. He will now be transferred to the Butler County Jail to await grand jury consideration of his case.

Cooney declined comment after the hearing.

Paralyzed woman: Life ‘a living hell’ without stolen van

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 1:16 PM


            Shirley English, 77, of Middletown, is paralyzed from the waist down and she says her van was stolen earlier this month. She has been unable to make an doctor appointments since the van was stolen on Jan. 4. RICK McCRABB/STAFF
Shirley English, 77, of Middletown, is paralyzed from the waist down and she says her van was stolen earlier this month. She has been unable to make an doctor appointments since the van was stolen on Jan. 4. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

For the last two weeks, a paralyzed Middletown woman has been without the van that used to drive her to doctor appointments.

Shirley English, 77, paralyzed from the waist down after an auto accident in 2007, said her 2003 tan Dodge Caravan was stolen from her residence on Crawford Street earlier this month.

English said she allowed a former homeless man who lived with her to use the van to drive to and from his fast-food restaurant job on Breiel Boulevard in Middletown. She said the man used the van on Jan. 4, and she hasn’t seen him or the van since. She said the man picked up his check from the restaurant on Jan. 4, and he since has been fired.

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She filed a Middletown police report on Jan. 9, and the missing van was entered into the National Crime Information Center. Lt. Scott Reeve from the Middletown Police Department said officers are looking for the stolen van.

Until it’s found, English said she’s stuck at home, unable to make her doctor appointments for her heart and lung medical issues.

“My life has been a living hell,” English said Friday morning while sitting in her wheelchair holding her chihuahua. “I have nightmares like you wouldn’t believe. I can’t sleep at a night. I’m about ready to flip out. I feel like somebody has (taken) my life.”

She wiped away some tears, then added: “Nobody has the right to take what belongs to me, especially when it can save my life.”

English said she has a signed piece of paper that said the man was allowed to use the van between 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on nights he was working. At noon on Jan. 4, she noticed her car and house keys missing from an end table.

Up until the incident, English said the man was “a pretty good guy.” He had lived with her since October, she said.

Her family has sent the man text messages, but he hasn’t responded, she said.

“I need help,” she said. “I need help getting my automobile back.”

On her front door, she has posted two signs: “NOTICE: CAMERA. If you can read this your image has already been taken and unloaded to the internet.”

And, “No nuts or screwballs or thieves by order of police and prosecutor. Thank you.”

2 arrested after infant, 4-year-old dumped along freezing roads

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 12:26 PM

Khyree Swift, 17, appears in court on Jan. 19, 2018 after being arrested on charges including kidnapping and theft in Clayton County, Georgia.
WSB-TV
Khyree Swift, 17, appears in court on Jan. 19, 2018 after being arrested on charges including kidnapping and theft in Clayton County, Georgia.(WSB-TV)

Authorities have captured two teens they say stole an SUV with two children inside before abandoning them in below freezing temperatures.

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Khyree Swift, 17, and an unidentified 16-year-old have been charged with kidnapping, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said. Investigators said they tracked a stolen iPad to the home of one of the suspects, WSB-TV reported.

>> On AJC.com: SUV thief dumped little girl, 1-month-old baby along freezing roads

Swift was arrested Friday by Riverdale police, according to jail records. He appeared in court later in the day and was denied bond, WSB-TV reported.

Swift told a judge he doesn’t understand the allegations against him, according to the news station. His family told WSB-TV that Swift had nothing to do with the crime.

It is not clear when the other teen was captured.

Swift and the 16-year-old are accused of taking Precious Wilmer’s 2009 Chevy Equinox about 5 p.m. Wednesday from a QuikTrip on Riverdale Road.

Wilmer left her daughters, 1-month-old Ava Wilmer and 4-year-old Arya Davenport, in the SUV with the engine running while she went inside the convenience store, Clayton County police Sgt. Ashanti Marbury said.

She came out of the store and saw her car being driven away with her children in the back seat, police said. 

The girls were later found miles apart. 

Georgia State University police Chief Joseph Spillane found Arya walking on the shoulder of a roadway near I-285 and Riverdale Road, police said.

Channel 2 photojournalist Brian Ferguson found Ava in the middle of South Fulton Parkway, still strapped in her car seat.

>> On AJC.com: Children carjacked in Atlanta saved by passers-by in frigid weather 

At the time, the temperature was in the 20s, but it felt like the single digits.

The girls appeared to be OK, but were taken to Southern Regional Medical Center as a precaution. 

Atlanta police later located Precious Wilmer’s SUV on Metropolitan Parkway. 

In addition to kidnapping, Swift faces charges of theft by receiving stolen property, cruelty to children in the first degree and theft by taking.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writers Steve Burns and Raisa Habersham contributed to this report

Altercation may have preceded Butler County jail suicide death

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 12:31 PM


            Samantha Young BUTLER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Samantha Young BUTLER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the suicide death of a Cincinnati woman found hanging in the county jail on Tuesday.

Samantha Young, 21, who was in jail for a probation violation, died from hanging in the Hanover Street facility, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office. Her death was ruled a suicide by the coroner’s office.

According to Sheriff Office Lt. Rick Bucheit said there are reports that Young had been involved in an altercation with another inmate sometime before the suicide.

FIRST REPORT: Death in Butler County Jail ruled suicide

At approximately 2:20 p.m. Tuesday, a corrections officer discovered Young unresponsive. She had a bed sheet tied around her neck, and her knees were bent, officials said. Corrections officers got Young down and started CPR until medical staff arrived. Despite efforts, she was pronounced dead at the jail by coroner’s office staff.

Young was booked into the Butler County Jail on Jan. 14 for a probation violation.

RELATED: Warren County Jail inmate dies after release to medical facility

Young was arrested in September 2016 for drug charges involving marijuana and a needle. She pleaded guilty to attempted possession of drug abuse instruments and was placed on two years’ probation, according to court records.

According to Bucheit, Young was not on suicide watch. She was housed in a cell with another inmate who was in court at the time of the incident.

MORE: Competency hearing rescheduled for rape suspect

“It is a tragedy,” he said. “Our condolences go out to the family.”

According to this new organization’s records, that last suicide death in the Butler County Jail was in July 2012.

Woman shot, killed at Mississippi Walmart by on-again, off-again boyfriend, police say

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

On-Again, Off-Again Boyfriend Shoots, Kills Woman At Walmart

A man is facing a capital murder charge after Starkville police accused him of shooting and killing a woman described as his “on-again, off-again” girlfriend at a Mississippi Walmart where she worked as an optometrist, according to multiple reports.

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The shooting happened around 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Walmart in Starkville. Police Chief Frank Nichols said a man fired several shots after walking into the store and confronting a woman, identified as Walmart Vision Center employee Shauna Witt, 42, the Starkville Daily News reported.

No other injuries were reported.

Witt was taken to a hospital, where she later died from her injuries, police said.

Police said they confronted a man at the scene of the shooting and detained him after a brief struggle. The man, identified as William Thomas “Tommy” Chisholm, was arrested and charged with capital murder.

Investigators believe the shooting was the result of a domestic situation. According to witnesses, Chisholm and Witt were in an on-again, off-again dating relationship.

SPD Press Conference - Walmart Shooting Incident

Posted by Starkville Police Department on Saturday, January 13, 2018

After the shooting, Justin Blaylock, who said he knew Witt for nearly two decades, described her as “a generous, kind soul,” the Daily News reported.

“She will be greatly missed by all,” he said. “(She was) just a genuine friend that cared at all times and was willing to lend a hand at any time.”

At the time of the killing, police said, Chisholm was out on felony bond for an incident related to the victim.

Police continue to investigate the shooting.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.