Thursday, October 10, 2002

Florence car-theft suspects arrested




By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FLORENCE — For the second time in four days, police have arrested suspects accused of stealing a car. At 3:03 a.m. Wednesday, police received a call about three people trying to break into a car on Village Drive. When officers arrived, the suspects ran. Police caught them shortly on Ockerman Middle School property.

Police arrested David J. Hammond Jr., 18, of Independence; Jeffrey D. Fightmaster, 21, of Independence; and Donald E. King, 18, of Elsmere Each was charged with theft by unlawful taking of an auto. The felony charge carries a penalty of one to five years in prison.

“We have had several reports of stolen cars recently,” said Lt. Tim Chesser, spokesman for Florence Police, “but they don't appear to be connected. We have not seen a real increase in stolen cars, but maybe our community is more of a target because we have a lot of dealerships.”

On Sunday, police arrested three people accused of stealing a GMC Jimmy from Five Star Motors on Burlington Pike. Police said they were returning to the used-car dealership to steal more cars.

Police went to Five Star Motors at 1:26 a.m. after a witness reported a burglary in progress and a description of the suspect's vehicle. Officers saw the vehicle at Turfway Road and Interstate 71/75 and gave chase.

The 3-minute pursuit ended after spikes deflated the tires on the Jimmy, which had been stolen from the dealership Oct. 3, police said. Michael Chieftain, 18, of Covington and two juveniles were charged with burglary, receiving stolen property over $300 and fleeing and evading police. Mr. Chieftain was also charged with two counts of unlawful transaction with a juvenile.

Earlier this fall, a Mustang was stolen from Airport Ford next to the Florence Mall. That car was recovered by Ohio authorities.

“We have to give credit to our citizens, too,” Lt. Chesser said. “They called police to report suspicious activity.”

E-mail jhannah@enquirer.com



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