Sheriff Seeking Public’s Help in Rash of Burglaries

While more information is expected to be released this week, the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department is looking for the public’s help in solving a rash of recent burglaries and thefts throughout the county.

According to Sheriff Pat Butler, his department continues to investigate burglaries that range from house break-ins to thefts from unlocked vehicles.

Butler said the break-ins have been occurring over the past six months, mostly during the daytime. Most recently, thieves have targeted homes and vehicles at Shawnee Hills and along GC&P Road to the Pennsylvania state line.

In some case, residents have failed to report thefts, which officials said can hinder their ability to track down the culprits.

Chief Deputy Drage Flick said the department needs residents to report suspicious vehicles or people in their areas right away. He said the sheriff may be releasing more information this week about the investigation.

A message on the sheriff’s department’s website reiterates that request. It states: “We are aware that Ohio County’s citizens are looking for information about the progress being made at the Ohio County Sheriff’s Office and the anti-crime efforts underway. The purpose of this Internet site is to provide that information and to also make reaching us with your input as easy as possible.”

Messages can be sent via the website or by calling the sheriff’s department at 304-238-3811. Anyone with tips or information that may be helpful in catching the suspects should call.

“We need for the people to call us when they see a suspicious vehicle,” Flick added.

With 109 square miles in Ohio County, deputies are seeking the public’s assistance, much like those in Neighborhood Watch groups who make a concerted effort to look out for their neighbors.

Investigators continue to work leads, Butler added, but they currently have no suspects. He declined to speculate if any of the burglaries are related.

Butler did urge residents to contact the sheriff’s department if a stranger knocks on their door for no apparent reason. He also said it would be helpful if residents could provide deputies with a description of a vehicle the strangers may be traveling in and take down license plate numbers that might provide a lead for deputies.

One Ohio County resident’s home was burglarized while he and his family were in church. In that case, the burglar even took the children’s piggy banks. In Shawnee Hills, a number of unlocked vehicles were burglarized.

A rural Ohio County resident who contacted The Intelligencer said he and some of his neighbors have met informally to discuss the problem and several have even armed themselves.