Deputies track down theft suspects to flooded wooded area; swift-water rescue crews respond

DARKE COUNTY — Darke County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested two theft suspects after tracking them down through a flooded wooded area, which prompted a swift water rescue Tuesday afternoon.

The sheriff’s office says it received a call regarding a theft in progress at 8972 Gettysburg Southeastern Road around 1:07 p.m.

The witness, who was a neighbor, reported seeing two men steal a generator from his neighbor’s property, the sheriff’s office said. He was able to provide a detailed description of the suspect’s vehicle and trailer, which they had loaded the stolen generator on. 

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“The witness followed the suspects for a while and was providing information to the Darke County Sheriff’s Office of their last known location before losing sight of the suspect vehicle,” the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies located the trailer and stolen generator dumped in the area of Hogpath Rd and SR 49, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies continued searching the area for the suspect’s vehicle, and it was spotted by a deputy on Arcanum Bears Mill Rd in the area of Spidel Rd. 

According to the sheriff’s office, the suspect vehicle took off at a high rate of speed and the deputy lost sight of it. 

Deputies continued searching the area when the initial witness, who was still driving around the area, saw the suspect’s vehicle parked behind a barn in the 6200 block of Hartzell Rd. 

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The sheriff’s office says deputies responded to the location and found the suspected vehicle abandoned behind the barn. 

The two male suspects who were observed in the vehicle earlier, by the witness and deputy, had fled from the vehicle.

A Darke County K-9 unit was requested at the scene to track the two suspects. The K-9 unit and deputies began tracking the two suspects through a flooded wooded area along the Greenville Creek.

“After tracking the suspects for a while through the thickly wooded area and high water, the two suspects were located lying in the water trying to hide from deputies.  Both suspects were detained at that time,” the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office says that due to the suspects submerging themselves in the cold water for an extended period of time, and the terrain that they had traveled through, the deputies were not able to walk the arrested subjects back out the same path they had walked in. 

The sheriff’s office requested assistance from Gettysburg, Bradford and Covington Fire Departments, to assist with the swift water rescue teams to help extract the suspects and deputies from the flooded area. 

Bradford and Covington Fire Departments both deployed their watercraft units to the area to assist with the extractions, the sheriff’s office said. 

The deputies, K-9 unit and both suspects were extricated by the watercrafts. 

The suspects were identified as Beau Allen Jay, 42, of Bradford and Randy Peter, 50, of Piqua. 

Both suspects were transported by Gettysburg Rescue to Wayne Hospital due to their exposure to the frigid water, where they were evaluated by the medical staff and released, according to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office says both Jay and Peters were transported to the Darke County Jail and charged with theft and two counts of criminal trespass.

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