Police investigate theft spree

By Dean Wright - deanwright@civitasmedia.com



GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a string of thefts Sunday and Monday involving a suspect allegedly approaching individuals at their homes and asking for money before snagging a wallet or purse.

Incidents of theft were recorded on McCarley Road, Sailor Road, McCormick Road and Vanco Road.

“All the crimes are very similar in the method of operation,” said Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning. “They involve someone knocking at the door, giving a sad story about needing money. Someone hands over a little bit of money and then gets their wallet grabbed before the suspect runs. There were some reports of no vehicle that could be seen directly parked out in the roadway, so we have some conflicting vehicle descriptions.”

The sheriff did say the description of the suspect in the crimes seemed to match across all the cases of theft. One report suggested the suspected was a white male wearing a black toboggan, dark shirt with jeans and a hoodie. He is supposedly 5 feet, 10 inches tall and maybe weighs around 160 pounds.

One incident recorded on Vanco Road on Sunday states the suspect allegedly approached the victim at his home asking for change for a $5 bill to purchase Easter eggs. The victim reached for his wallet and the suspect then reached to grab the wallet and ran for the door. The victim then threw his walker at the suspect. The suspect then grabbed the walker to throw it back at the victim and supposedly lost most of the cash in the wallet during the incident.

One crime reported on McCarley Road stated a female victim had already given the suspect money when he approached the residence asking for what was supposed to be gas money. After being asked to retrieve some toilet paper, the victim stepped away from the door and the suspect allegedly dashed to grab her purse before fleeing.

Other police departments are also investigating a potential armed theft at a rest stop as well as another theft in Meigs County. Whereas evidence has not directly concluded the incidents are linked, police are not ruling out the potential of a shared suspect, according to Sheriff Browning.

Police advise that individuals answer their doors with caution and if someone does not recognize the individual at the door to contact authorities. If a stranger is asking for help, Browning said it is worth taking the extra time to be safe in contacting an officer.

Tips can be left for the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office at (740) 446-6555.

Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.

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By Dean Wright