Darke County Sheriff’s deputies arrest theft suspects

Staff report

DARKE COUNTY — Two theft suspects are in custody after Darke County Sheriff’s deputies and K-9 unit gave chase on land and water.

On Feb. 22 at 1:07 p.m., the Darke County Sheriff’s Office received a call in reference to a theft in progress at the 8000 block of Gettysburg Southeastern Road. The witness, who was a neighbor, reported observing two male subjects steal a generator from his neighbor’s property.

The witness was able to provide a detailed description of the suspect’s vehicle and trailer, which they had loaded the stolen generator on before following the suspects and providing information to the Darke County Sheriff’s Office of their last known location before losing sight of the suspect vehicle.

Darke County deputies located the trailer and stolen generator dumped in the area of Hogpath Road and State Route 49. Deputies continued searching the area for the suspect’s vehicle and it was spotted on Arcanum Bears Mill Road in the area of Spidel Road.

The suspect vehicle took off at a high rate of speed, at which time the deputy lost sight of it. Deputies continued searching the area when the initial witness, who was still driving around the area, observed the suspect’s vehicle parked behind a barn in the 6200 block of Hartzell Road. Deputies responded to the location and located the suspected vehicle abandoned behind the barn. The two male suspects who were observed in the vehicle earlier, by the witness and deputy, had fled from the vehicle.

A Darke County K-9 unit was requested, and the K-9 unit and deputies began tracking the two suspects through a flooded wooded area along the Greenville Creek. After tracking the suspects for a while through the thickly wooded area and high water, the two suspects were located lying in the water trying to hide from deputies. Both suspects were detained at that time.

Due to the suspects submerging themselves in the cold water for an extended period of time, and the terrain that they had traveled through, the deputies were not able to walk the arrested subjects back out the same path they had walked in. The Darke County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from Gettysburg, Bradford and Covington Fire Departments, to assist with the swift water rescue teams to help extract the suspects and deputies from the flooded area.

Bradford and Covington Fire Departments both deployed their watercraft units to the area to assist with the extractions. The deputies, K-9 unit and both suspects were extricated by the watercrafts. The suspects were identified as Beau Allen Jay, 42, of Bradford and Randy Peter, 50, of Piqua.

Both suspects were transported by Gettysburg Rescue to Wayne Hospital due to their exposure to the frigid water, where they were evaluated by the medical staff and released. Both Jay and Peters were transported to the Darke County Jail and charged with theft and two counts of criminal trespass.

Sheriff Mark Whittaker extended his thanks the witness that reported the initial theft and the citizens in Darke County that assisted Darke County deputies during the track of the two suspects. Sheriff Whittaker stated the detailed information reported by the witness, and the assistance provided by the citizens, helped Darke County deputies in locating the two suspects and apprehending them.

Sheriff Whittaker also commended the swift water rescue teams and fire/rescue personnel for safely recovering the deputies, K-9 Oakley and the suspects from the swiftly moving Greenville Creek.