Saturday, October 12, 2002

Officer home after beating

Three still at large in mugging

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

NORWOOD — An undercover officer is recovering at his Milford home after he was pistol-whipped by three teens Thursday night in a Roselawn parking lot — an incident that has left his colleagues rattled.

Officer Harry Schlie, 48, an undercover officer for about 10 years, was ambushed about 8:30 p.m. at Section and Reading roads as he stood outside his vehicle and reached into the back for some equipment.

Three teens demanded money, and one struck Officer Schlie so viciously with the barrel of his handgun that the officer later told his brother, Norwood Police Chief William Schlie, that he thought he'd been shot.

According to the chief, the teens beat Officer Schlie to the ground and kicked him as he lay there. By this time, they had seen his wallet and the gun holstered to his side.

At one point, one of them said, “Oh, (expletive), he's a cop,” causing one of the teens to run away, according to police. Another Norwood undercover officer, whom the chief would not identify, was in the vicinity to meet Officer Schlie for an undercover detail. From about 50 feet away, he heard Officer Schlie tell the teens that he had no more money.

Realizing what was going on, the other officer rushed toward the scene, but the teens were already escaping with Officer Schlie's wallet, cell phone and .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun.

The other officer, who radioed for help, chased them briefly before they disappeared into a wooded area. Officer Schlie, regaining consciousness during the chase, also called for help and was coherent when Cincinnati paramedics arrived.

The chief rushed to the scene, too.

“He was so upset that the situation happened. He didn't have any control over it. He was just really, really lucky. It could have been a lot worse,” said the chief, who talked to his brother at University Hospital's emergency room, where Officer Schlie received more than 10 stitches above his right eye.

The chief expects his brother to be back on duty in about two weeks. “Right now, he just needs some bed rest. He's pretty sore.” Cincinnati Police have recovered Officer Schlie's phone, but the suspects remain at large.

Officer Schlie “was a random target,” Cincinnati Police Sgt. Timothy Fritz said. But, “whenever something serious happens to them, it affects everybody in the law enforcement community. It could have very easily been any one of us. It just happened to occur with a Norwood officer last night.”

The suspects face aggravated robbery charges and up to 10 years in jail if convicted.

The chief and Norwood Councilman Thomas Williams, a retired Norwood police officer, defended the way the officers handled the incident. Mr. Williams said it wasn't safe for the pursuing officer to shoot at the suspects because they were so far away.

Officer Schlie never saw what was coming.

“Harry's about the smartest street cop that I've ever seen,” Mr. Williams said. “If there could have been anything different done (on Thursday), Harry would have done it.”

The attackers were described as black males, 15-17 years old. One was about 5-feet-10, 140 pounds and wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and a mask. Another was 6 feet tall and wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt. A description isn't available for the third.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 352-3040.


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