Daniel A. Burke (Photo courtesy of the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office)
Daniel A. Burke (Photo courtesy of the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office)

Times Bulletin Staff Report

VAN WERT - A pair of persons suspected of a daytime robbery this week in Pleasant Township were arrested and charged.

Daniel A. Burke, 38, Reynoldsburg, Ohio, is facing a charge of second-degree felony robbery and Savannah M. Williams, 26, Mendon, is charged with complicity to commit burglary, also a second-degree felony.

According to Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas M. Riggenbach, his office has been investigating the Tuesday burglary where a homeowner was distracted by a female while a male stole items from inside the home. Reports of similar burglaries or attempted burglaries were made in Hardin and Mercer counties.

On Friday, a call to the Sheriff's Office was received at 10:59 a.m. reporting that a female matching the suspect's description had entered a local business and that a truck parked outside that business matched the description of the vehicle being sought by investigators. By the time deputies arrived, along with officers from the Van Wert Police Department, the vehicle and women had left.

Additional information was obtained at the business and was broadcast to other units. Soon, a VWPD officer located the truck and stopped it in the southwest section of the city. Three persons inside the pickup were taken to the Van Wert County Sheriff's Office for questioning. Burke and Williams were charged and jailed while the third person was released without being charged. Riggenbach noted that more charges could still be filed.

A similar ruse was attempted in Mercer County where a man knocked on the front door of a home and identified himself as a state employee. The man wanted the homeowner to go to the back of the home to a wooded area where he claimed he was going to install a free generator. Soon a female approached them and started talking to the homeowner. Then the man started to walk away. The homeowner became suspicious and went back inside the house and locked the door. The couple left a few minutes later.

Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey issued a press release on Friday, warning of the attempt and urging persons to be aware of the anyone acting in a suspicious manner. He also gave a description of the suspects with the male having a medium build and a shaved head and the female having reddish colored hair, and of the newer model red pickup truck.

Burke and Williams will be arraigned in Van Wert Municipal Court next week.

Riggenbach thanked the public for helping the investigation with numerous tips that assisted the investigation. Cooperating with the Van Wert County Sheriff's Office in the investigation were the Hardin County Sheriff's Office, Hardin County Prosecutor's Office, Van Wert Police Department, Mercer County Sheriff's Office, and Auglaize County Sheriff's Office.