GALLIPOLIS — A Meigs County man who was apprehended after he invaded an elderly woman’s home this summer has pleaded not guilty to multiple felony counts in Gallia County Common Pleas Court.
Ryan E. Kauff, 30, of Middleport, appeared before Common Pleas Judge D. Dean Evans earlier this week and pleaded not guilty to a first-degree felony charge of aggravated burglary, a second-degree felony charge of burglary and two theft charges following his apprehension in July in Gallia County.
Kauff was arrested just after 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 29, after a home invasion and a second burglary led Gallia County sheriff’s deputies on a manhunt throughout the Bidwell area.
According to information initially released by the sheriff’s office following the suspect’s arrest, Constance Evans, 79, of Payne Street, Bidwell, contacted the Gallia County 911 Dispatch Center at approximately 1 a.m. that day after a male, later identified as Kauff, forced his way into her home and attacked her.
Evans reported that at approximately 12:50 a.m. July 29, she heard a knock at her door and saw someone standing on her front porch. She told deputies that she did not open the door, but did ask the person outside who they were and what they wanted.
The victim reported that the male told her that he needed money for gas. Evans told him that she had no money to give him, so he then asked to use her phone.
When she opened the door to hand him the phone, Evans told deputies that the male pushed her back and came into the house demanding money.
After a scuffle, the suspect reportedly fled out the front door, only to return back inside and attack Evans again, this time taking her rings off her fingers — items valued at approximately $3,000.
According to the sheriff’s office, following this first call, 911 dispatchers reportedly received a report of a possible prowler at a residence on Ohio 160 in Bidwell. While at this second residence, deputies discovered footprints leading into the woods near River Valley Middle School.
While on the suspect’s trail, the deputies were again dispatched to another call in the immediate area, this time to a burglary-in-progress call at a nearby residence. Once on scene, deputies discovered that Kauff had allegedly made entry into this second house and had removed a large flat-screen television from the home.
Deputies then followed Kauff’s trail from Ohio 160 to 14101 Ohio 554 where, following a search of the residence, the suspect was finally located by a sheriff’s office K-9 unit and was taken into custody.
The stolen property — including the rings — was seized by deputies and later returned to the rightful owners.
Following his arrest, Kauff made an initial appearance in the Gallipolis Municipal Court and has been held in the Gallia County Jail under a $500,000, 10 percent bond since his apprehension.
An indictment in this case was filed on Aug. 28, and during Monday’s hearing, Kauff appeared with his appointed defense counsel Wintston G. Woodyard and entered a plea of not guilty. His bond was continued at $500,000, 10 percent, with an additional $1,500, 10 percent bond.
Kauff is scheduled to appear for a status conference on Sept. 17. In lieu of a final pretrial conference, a negotiated plea agreement may be filed with the clerk of courts by Oct. 3. A jury trial has been scheduled for Oct. 21.