Sheriff on teen gangs: ‘They’ve been terrorizing our community too long’

Published: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 10:52 PM

Sheriff concerned about teen gangs after high-profile crime

A recent high-profile case of armed teens accused of robbing a cellphone store is raising concerns about a wave of youth crime.

Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer is speaking out about how big the problem is and why it needs to change. 

In Dayton and across the county, law enforcement has identified juvenile gangs with as many as 100 members. 

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“They’re organized, they’re friends. They’ve been terrorizing our community too long; law enforcement has had it,” the sheriff said. 

Plummer said the recent robbery of the Huber Heights AT&T store is the latest example of the problem. 

Huber Heights police say seven masked teenagers, all with guns, rushed inside, forced customers and employees to the ground, threatened them and stole from the safe. 

“It’s time for some accountability. I understand they’re kids, but they’re acting like young men, committing crimes with guns,” he said. 

>> 6 juveniles, 1 adult in custody in AT&T robbery, manhunt in Huber Heights

Police tracked down all seven teen suspects within an hour. 

Huber Heights detectives are comparing notes with other law enforcement agencies, including police in Springfield, who believe some of the same teens may have been involved in a Verizon store robbery there two weeks earlier. 

“I have cellphone store owners calling me scared to death of this crew,” Plummer said. 

But Plummer said those teens are the tip of the iceberg. 

His detectives have identified at least six separate gangs of teens with up to 100 members. The groups engage in carjackings and also are responsible for dozens of home break-ins, stealing game systems and guns. They also have been known to target gun stores, and of course, phone stores. 

“No one wants to speak up about it. I’m speaking up on it for all law enforcement. We’re tired of it. We demand accountability,” he said. 

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The sheriff said parents, families, schools, the court system and communities must all join with law enforcement to attack a problem that is becomeing overwhelming. He said teens who engage in violent crime have to pay a price. 

“Our goal is not to lock everybody up, but we want to lock up people that are putting people’s lives at risk,” Plummer said. 

The sheriff said juvenile justice centers may have to change their approach. He said they may not be equipped to deal with teens who act just like adult criminals. 


Our partners at the Dayton Daily News go in depth looking at youth gangs in our area. That special report is in Sunday’s Dayton Daily News.

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Carlisle schools, police investigating possible threat

Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 10:21 AM


Carlisle School officials are investigating rumors of a possible school threat, but they have found no credible evidence of a threat being made, they said.

Officials are continuing to investigate the possibility of a threat and Carlisle police officers will be in the schools today as a precaution, said Superintendent Larry Hook.

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Slain Miami County woman’s estate wants ruling in wrongful death suit

Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 8:36 AM

The family of Samantha Freels has filed a lawsuit against her husband, Randy, who is accused of killing her on a snowy day in January.

TROY - The administrator of the estate of Samantha Freels, who died from a gunshot wound Jan. 12 in Union Twp., Miami County, has asked a judge to issue a default judgment in a wrongful death lawsuit filed last month against Randy Freels, her husband and accused murderer.

Anthony Freels, administrator of the estate of Samantha Freels, asked for a default judgment Thursday against Randy Freels for failure to respond to the lawsuit in county Common Pleas Court.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of Samantha Freels’ next of kin claims they suffered damages because of her death. In the motion, the administrator asks the judge to also schedule a hearing to determine the amount of damages the estate should receive. The lawsuit claims Randy Freels “intentionally and willfully, and/or recklessly, and/or negligently, caused the death.”

Miami County prosecutors have accused Anthony Freels of killing his wife, Samantha Freels.(Contributing Writer)

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Samantha Freels, 52, was found deceased in her car the afternoon of Jan. 12 along Ohio 55 near West Milton. Responders initially thought she died in a car accident during a snow storm. Investigators, however, found a bullet hole in her car, leading to the discovery of the gunshot wound.

Randy Freels, 57, has pleaded not guilty to indictments accusing him of murder, felonious assault, discharging a firearm into a habitat and tampering with evidence. His bond was set at $1.5 million.

Freels was transferred March 17 from the Miami County Jail to the Twin Valley Behavioral Health Care Center in Columbus for treatment and stabilization at the order of Judge William McGregor Dixon Jr. He was asked by prosecutors on behalf of the sheriff’s department to transfer Freels because his “current condition and security risk is beyond that which can be managed within the Miami County Jail.”

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Once Freels is stabilized, he will be returned to the jail, according to the court order.

On March 19, Judge Jeannine Pratt ordered competency and sanity evaluations of Freels at the request of public defender Jack Hemm who March 16 asked the court to order the evaluations. Pratt is the judge assigned to the criminal case and the lawsuit.

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Sex offenders on college campuses

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 4:05 PM

Sex offenders on college campuses

An I-Team investigation has found local colleges and universities can accept convicted sex offenders as students but their classmates are unaware of those convictions. Daniel Schrand, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification officer for the Greene County Sheriff's Office, said offenders are required to notify the local sheriff of their status as a student. The official notification, though, ends there.

"The only person they have to tell is their local sheriff's office. If I have an offender who registers with me, his address, and goes to school in another county, he has to register the school with me and also the county that the school is in." 

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According to Schrand, nothing in state law requires the school or the other students to be told. That lack of disclosure is a concern to some students, including Sinclair creative writing major Chris Fohl. He does understand why they would be allowed to be admitted. "That would speak a lot about Sinclair, second chances and all of that," Fohl said.

Sinclair spokesman Adam Murka said safety is the college's number one goal. For several years the school has had a specific policy on the conditions for enrollment for convicted sex offenders. "We understand we have an obligation to provide a safe learning environment and we have an obligation since we have a daycare here on campus," Murka said. Sinclair's Police Chief, John Huber, said there are restrictions on where a student with a sex-related conviction can travel on campus. 

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"We do not allow them to be in classrooms with minors if that's a condition of their probation and parole. They are not to have classes in building nine which is where our daycare center is," Huber said. He added that Sinclair has not had a problem with any students with a conviction.

Schrand said he voluntarily notifies Sinclair, Wright State University and other schools if an offender who registers with him lists themselves as a student at a local college. While Schrand supports direct notification for the schools, he does not want to make it impossible for them to attend college. That way, Schrand says, they can get a job and turn their lives around.

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Would students mind going to class with a convicted sex offender? Sinclair student Karissa Hammond said she would be cautious but not prohibit a person with a conviction from attending school. "They do deserve a second chance but it does not mean you have to be blind to it. It doesn't mean you cannot be cautious around people."

How many students with a conviction are attending local colleges and universities? The I-Team will break down the data and explore the policies of multiple schools as coverage of sex offenders on campus continues Sunday in the Dayton Daily News.

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Police: 2 suspected metal thieves caught red-handed at Hewitt Soap Factory

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 11:17 PM

Jacob Schiessler, left, and Scott Schiessler
Jacob Schiessler, left, and Scott Schiessler(MONTGOMERY COUNTY JAIL)

>>PHOTOS: Fire at Hewitt Soap Factory

A Tipp City man told police he was nearly run over this evening after he tried to confront two suspected metal thieves.

The 56-year-old man dialed 911 to report a theft in progress around 5 p.m. at the old Hewitt Soap Factory, 300 Linden Ave.

He said he was on his way home from work when he saw a red pickup truck on the property. He walked up to the truck to get its license plate number when he spotted a man later identified as Jacob Schiessler come out of a vacant building, and saw another man, later identified as Scott Schiessler, load metal into the bed of the pickup, according to a Dayton police report.

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The man said when he confronted the men about the theft, Jacob Schiessler threatened him and he backed away at the urging of the 911 operator.

Then, he said Jacob Schiessler got into the driver’s seat of the pickup, accelerated and tried to run him owner. The victim said he was able to run out of the way to avoid being struck, the report stated.

Police found the pickup at First Street Recycling, 1400 E. First St.

The victim identified Jacob and Scott Schiessler as the men involved in the incident at the Linden Avenue site, the report stated. 

Firefighters continues to douse the hot spots of the old Hewitt Soap Factory fire that erupted early Friday morning.

Both men were booked into the Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of felony breaking and entering, and Jacob Schiessler also faces a felonious assault charge. They are due to be arraigned Friday afternoon in Dayton Municipal Court, online jail records show.

The old Hewitt Soap Factory ceased operation in 2004. It had a massive fire Dec. 22, 2016, that destroyed a building at the facility constructed in 1897. A second large fire erupted Nov. 10, 2017, this time at a three-story building on the site’s northern side.

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