Thursday, September 07, 2000

Burglary suspect caught within hours


Ky. police find man also wanted in Dayton, Ohio

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT THOMAS — A Cincinnati man bragged to city police that his speciality is safe cracking after they arrested him early Wednesday, , within two hours after someone used a crowbar and screwdriver to burglarize and ransack two neighboring office buildings.

        Donald Walker, 38, who told police he lived in Cincinnati, but whose last known address was Dayton, Ohio, is being held in the Campbell County Jail. He faces 10 burglary charges for the crimes committed at 1407 and 1419 Alexandria Pike. Police say at least $1,000 worth of recording and stereo equipment was stolen.

        He has an extensive criminal record and already has spent time in jail for burglaries, Fort Thomas police said.

        Mr. Walker was wanted for a breaking-and-entering charge in Dayton, Ohio, when 11 police officers from Fort Thomas, Highland Heights, Campbell County, Dayton and Southgate surrounded him while he was walking in the block where Wednesday's burglaries occurred.

        “He just came walking to us,” Fort Thomas Police Sgt. Rich Whitford said. “He didn't know what hit him.”

        Police began looking for Mr. Walker since shortly before 4 a.m., when they spotted a van at a nearby Shell station that had CD players, compact discs, a camcorder and other items inside.

        Sgt. Whitford said Fort Thomas police were extra alert on their patrols because there had been a burglary reported the night before in Cold Spring. About $14,000 had been taken from a small business on that city's stretch of Alexandria Pike.

        They learned from police computers that the van at the Shell was registered to Mr. Walker and that he was wanted. Fort Thomas police officers called other units. They also called the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department to use its helicopter. It was not available.

        “We knew we had to find him,” the sergeant said. “We knew he was in the area.”

        Police patrolled the area and soon discovered that doors to neighboring office buildings on Alexandria bore evidence of being broken into.

        Police were standing outside the buildings when they spotted Mr. Walker about 90 minutes later.

        Mr. Walker was open about his past criminal escapades, police said.

        They are investigating whether he was responsible for an earlier break-in at Carmel Manor. Nursing home officials declined comment.

        While police were investigating, Jim Langenkamp was bemused when he arrived at work Wednesday morning. He owns Chamber Maps at 1419 Alexandria Pike. Some radios were stolen, while more expensive items such as computers had been ignored.

        There “was just a lot of broken doors,” he said.

       



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