Monday, December 25, 2000

Scooter taken for wrong ride

Three men arrested; toy returned in time

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        John Hammons was arrested early Sunday riding on what Ft. Thomas police said was a stolen scooter.

        Claude France and Ocean Bolton were arrested with him and all three Newport residents were taken to Campbell County Jail, charged with receiving stolen goods.

        “We get the dumb ones,” Ft. Thomas Police Lt. Mark Dill said.

        The case began when Chris Stegner, 39, a Rosemont Avenue resident, stepped outside about 2 a.m. to have a cigarette.

        He saw a stranger leave a parked Mercedes and cross the street into a wooded area.

        Mr. Stegner told the Enquirer that he didn't realize it was a neighbor's car.

        He assumed it belonged to some kid who was using the woods to smoke dope or drink.

        When the youth came out of the park and under a street lamp with two buddies, it hit him, Mr. Stegner recalled. “That was my neighbor's car.”

        He called police.

        Officers spotted the trio and found evidence that a number of unlocked cars had been ransacked. Strewn around and under vehicles were briefcases, personal planners and the box in which a scooter had been wrapped.

        Mr. Stegner identified them as the young men he'd seen.

        Lt. Dill said he expected more complaints when residents discovered thefts from vehicles which had been left open, apparently to avoid frozen locks.

        Mr. Hammons, 20, .; Mr. France, 18; , and Mr. Bolton, 18, had been visiting a Ft. Thomas woman, but Lt. Dill said she was not implicated in the thefts.

        He did not know why Rosemont was chosen because the woman lived elsewhere in the community.

        Lt. Dill said the men did not resist arrest. They are to appear in court Tuesday and further charges are likely, he added.

        Meanwhile, he said, the scooter is being released from evidence so the youngster for whom the gift was purchased can receive it today.


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