3 juveniles sent to diversion program in Dollar Tree arson fire

Published: Saturday, December 24, 2016 @ 6:57 PM

FROM SCENE: Flames shoot from Dayton Dollar Tree

Three juveniles will undergo a diversion program in connection to the Dollar Tree fire on Wayne Avenue on Christmas Eve.

UPDATE @ 5:08 p.m. (Jan. 24)

The suspects in this case, an 11-year-old boy and two 10-year-old boys, appeared in front of Juvenile Judge Nick Kuntz earlier this month, said Montgomery County Juvenile Court Administrator Jim Cole.

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The males were referred to the court diversion program, called the "10 and Under Program." Cole said this is for very young offenders and if they successfully complete the program they will not have a juvenile record following them. 

The program can last from three months to a year, depending on how well they do in program. 

If they fail to comply with the "10 and Under Program," including a fire-starter program, then they appear back in front of the judge. 

All three males remain on electronic home monitoring but are still attending school. 

UPDATE @ 11:13 a.m. (Dec. 27)

Jim Cole, Montgomery County juvenile court administrator, said three males, age 10, 10 and 11, are facing second-degree felony counts of aggravated arson in connection to a Dollar Tree fire. 

The three males, due to their young ages, were released on 24-hour electronic home monitor, Cole said. They were arrested Dec. 25 and released home that day.

They will face a hearing Jan. 18 in front of a magistrate. 

All the suspects are from Dayton and have no prior history with juvenile court.

A Dayton police report lists a fourth juvenile suspect, but that person is not in juvenile court. We’re working to find out more.


We’re working to find out the juveniles’ ages and genders.

No injuries were reported when the fire broke out with customers and employees inside. 

Flames rapidly spread, but witnesses said the workers were the last to get out after making sure all shoppers were safe.

“This fire is suspicious in nature,” said District Chief James Rose of the Dayton Fire Department. “We have shoppers, or patrons, that reported some suspicious activity.”

Rose declined to elaborate further or confirm reports that youths were seen running from the store just before the fire broke out. 

“We have solid leads on who may have started the fire,” he said.

A woman standing in line to buy wrapping paper said she was startled when she heard someone yell, “what’s on fire?” She walked over to the corner and saw “flames going up and up. 

“I screamed to the worker: ‘it’s on fire, it’s on fire, the store’s on fire!’”

The flames quickly reached upper shelves in the back, she said, and moved toward the middle of the store as employees yelled for everyone to get out.

“As soon as the door opened, the flames got bigger,” she said.

The employees were last to leave, and made sure all customers got out safely, she said.

Dayton firefighters quickly arrived, but the fire already was well involved and spreading rapidly, Rose said.

He had to pull firefighters out of the burning building to fight the flames from the outside due to the danger. 

“What we’re confronted with now is the roof is compromised so it’s just going to be a long and drawn out process,” he said.

Water will have to be moved into the building to put out hot spots, Rose added. Crews will likely have to remain on scene for hours.

The fire caused more than an estimated $250,000 in damages to the store and its contents. 

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A Dollar Tree store caught fire Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2016, at 1905 Wayne Ave., in Dayton. DeANGELO BYRD / STAFF

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POLICE: 1 brother in custody, 1 found dead after 2-day search in Indiana

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 2:55 PM
Updated: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 2:01 PM

Multiple Agencies searching for fugitives wanted for child molestation in Indiana

UPDATE @ 1:55 p.m.:

Alan Estep’s death is currently under investigation, according to Wayne County Coroner’s Office.

His body was transported to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office for a full forensic autopsy today.

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UPDATE @ 11:36 a.m.:

One brother was taken into custody and the other was found dead from an apparent suicide after a two day search in Richmond, Indiana Saturday, according to a press release from the Richmond Police Department.

Gravesite for ‘Buckskin Girl’ gets new headstone with her name

Charles Estep, 27, was taken into custody by the Richmond Police Department SWAT team around 7:45 a.m. 

Alan Estep, 27, was found dead at the scene of an apparent suicide, according to the release.

Charles and Alan were both wanted for parole violation as well as child molesting, the release stated.

(Jeff Lane Kicks 96)

One of the men were seen in the area of Meijer, located at 2507 Chester Boulevard around 6:20 a.m. He was seen fleeing into a wooded area nearby.

Officers from multiple agencies set up a perimeter in the area and were able to locate Charles behind Meijer. He was transported to Wayne County Jail on his warrants. 

Alan was found dead at the scene south of where Charles was apprehended in the wooded area around 8:30 a.m.

Centerville boy found wandering alone for second time in a week

This case began out of Hamilton County, Indiana, according to the release.

Multiple agencies assisted with the search including, Richmond Police Department, Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Marshall’s Service, Indiana State Police, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana University Police Department, Indiana DNR, Centerville Police Department, and the Wayne County Emergency Operations Center. 

Major Jon Bales of the Richmond Police Department credited cooperation and communication between agencies as a key competent to the success of this case.

UPDATE @ 10:07 a.m.:

Police out of Richmond, Indiana have confirmed the search for two fugitives wanted on child molestation charges has ended. 

Update July 21 @ 7:52 a.m.: 

Local, state, and federal officers are actively searching for two fugitives who fled police apprehension Friday afternoon in Richmond, Wayne County Regional Dispatch confirmed.

>>RELATED: Read more trending news on WHIO

Brothers Charles and Alan Estep, both wanted on child molestation charges, fled into a reservoir and then into a heavily wooded area at 1750 Sylvan Nook Drive, Richmond police said in a statement posted on their Facebook page.

The Estep brothers are both 27-years-old, Caucasian and 5 feet 9 inches tall. Charles weighs 150 lbs. with blonde hair and green eyes. Alan weighs 160 lbs. with brown hair and brown eyes.

SWAT teams, water crafts and drones piloted by the Richmond Fire Department have been used in the search. 

The fugitives are considered armed and dangerous. Police are urging anyone with information to call 911 immediately.

FIRST REPORT July 20 @ 2:49 p.m.:

Richmond Police and federal agents are searching for two possibly armed men who eluded them after a chase Friday afternoon on the north side of the Middlefork Reservoir area in Richmond, Indiana. 

The Wayne County 9-1-1 Center sent out two tweets alerting residents in the area to the manhunt. Reports are the two men are wanted on child molestation charges.

>>RELATED: Police seek public’s help in identifying Forterra break-in suspect

A man living in the area who contacted our newsroom said he and other residents were told by Richmond Police to stay indoors. The man added police suggested contacting them for an escort if you needed to go outside to get in to your vehicle.

The man told our newsroom a boat and a drone appeared to being used in the search. 

According to emergency dispatch the suspect eluded police during a foot chase and is now at large. Indiana University East issued an alert Friday stating their campus was on lockdown. The campus was later closed for the day as the manhunt continued.

We are working to learn more.  

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Mason family pleads guilty to lying about 400-pound relative on life insurance application

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 2:33 PM


Three members of a Mason family have pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder nearly $3 million in proceeds from two fraudulently purchased life insurance policies, which were taken out on another relative.

Patricia Stevenson, 57, and her daughter Candace G. Stevenson, 30, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Thursday money laundering conspiracy. Mitch G. Stevenson, 53, pleaded guilty on June 28.

MORE: Mason family charged with money laundering

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According to court documents, in 2009, Mitch Stevenson bought life insurance policies on a relative. The life-insurance applications claimed the relative was healthy, weighed 170 pounds and had an annual income of $133,000. In fact, the relative was ill, weighed nearly 400 pounds and was unemployed.

Stevenson knew the applications were fraudulent at the time they were submitted, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. When the relative died, Candace and Patricia Stevenson, who were the beneficiaries of the policies, collected checks from the insurance company totaling $2,908,326.90. At Mitch Stevenson’s direction, Candace and Patricia Stevenson opened eight different bank accounts in an attempt to conceal the source of the funds.

“The defendants engaged in a complex sequence of transactions designed to conceal and disguise the ownership of the proceeds of the life-insurance fraud,” Benjamin C. Glassman said.

MORE: Resident escapes Liberty Twp. house fire

The family members used the to buy a 2012 Bentley GT Convertible for approximately $247,000 and used approximately $284,000 as a down payment on a land contract on a home in Mason, according to court documents. Other transactions included approximately $16,000 to World of Decor and nearly $33,000 to Facet Jewelry.

A federal grand jury indicted the three in June 2017. Money laundering conspiracy is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set by Judge Edmund Sargus Jr. of the Southern District of Ohio.

As part of the plea, the defendants have agreed to pay the $2.9 million to the victim life insurance company. They have also agreed to forfeit to the United States the Mason home, that was purchased with the proceeds of the fraud.

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Resident escapes Liberty Twp. house fire caused by lightning strike

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 12:34 PM


A resident escaped from a Liberty Twp. house Friday after it was struck by lightning as storms pounded the the area, according to to the Liberty Twp. Fire Department.

The two-story house was hit about 3:20 p.m., which ignited an attic fire at the residence in the 5400 block of Walkers Court, said Battalion Chief Chad Canupp.

FIRST REPORT : House fire reported in Liberty Twp.

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“The occupant was alerted to the fire by smoke detectors,” Canupp said.

The fire was contained to the attic area, but the family has been displaced during the cleanup, he said.

A strong band of storms moved through the area from Central Kentucky to Montgomery County on Friday afternoon and evening, causing high winds, lightening and hail in some areas.

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Incident report not logged for reported Dayton shooting near Brown St.

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 3:30 AM
Updated: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 5:15 AM

UPDATE @ 5:15 a.m.:

Montgomery County Regional Dispatch confirmed officers did not log any reports after being called to the scene of a reported shooting in Dayton.

The incident was initially reported at approximately 2:59 a.m. Saturday near the 110 block of Brown Street. Scanner reports indicated a medic was requested for a shooting victim at the location.

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The county dispatch confirmed officers were called to that location and were then moved to the 320 block of E. 5th St., but did not confirm whether or not a victim was found.


Police crews and a medic are en route to a reported shooting in the 110 block of Brown Street in Dayton, Montgomery County Regional Dispatch confirmed.

The shooting was reported at approximately 2:59 a.m. Saturday.

Scanner reports indicated there has been at least one victim, injuries unknown.

We are on our way to the scene and will update this story as more details become available. 

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com.

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