Westerville News & Public Opinion

Westerville police arrest three in two burglaries


Westerville police arrested three people last week on charges related to two separate burglaries, while one suspected burglar remains on the loose.

Police arrested 40-year-old Jason Skaggs, of North Warren Avenue in Columbus, at 10:20 p.m. Sept. 3 after Skaggs and a female accomplice reportedly tried to break into an Uptown business in the first block of South State Street.

According to reports, police were called to the business after an employee working in a back room witnessed a man and a woman attempting to pry open the front door.

Police located Skaggs and 34-year-old Tonya Harris, of Oak Street in Columbus, nearby. The two fit the description of the burglars.

After briefly speaking with police, Skaggs and Harris fled with police in pursuit.

"Officers responded and saw a male and a female walking away. They stopped them and started talking to them and the male took off running on them," Westerville Police Lt. Paul Scowden said.

A nearby Otterbein police officer was able to catch up with Skaggs and arrested him after stopping him with a Taser, Scowden said.

Police continue to look for Harris.

"We know who she was, so she has warrants for her arrest," Scowden said.

Police are now investigating a rash of recent Uptown burglaries to see if Skaggs and Harris can be tied to any of them, as the recent attempted break-in follows the method used in other recent attempts.

There have been nine break-ins at Uptown businesses within recent months, Scowden said.

Skaggs was charged with attempted burglary and has not been cooperating with police in the investigation, Scowden said.

"The male that we caught, he's got a pretty lengthy criminal history from what I've heard. He's been through the system before. He didn't want to talk," he said.

In the other burglary case, a person driving through the area called police at noon Sept. 3 to report two suspicious boys walking along South State Street near the Camelot Condominiums. Both were wearing yellow rubber gloves.

Police found two 17-year-old boys fitting the description.

After a foot chase, one of the boys was apprehended, and the other boy was located at his home.

The boys were found to be in possession of a gaming system, computer monitors, a portable video game, video game accessories and video games that police said they stole from a nearby home.

Both boys will be charged with burglary and theft through Franklin County Juvenile Court.

Scowden said police were proud of the arrests and hope it will lead to a decrease in crime, as criminals learn they cannot target Westerville residents and businesses.

"It's been a great week for us," Scowden said of the arrests. "That's what we're in this job for ... to stop the crimes and investigate them and try to get the bad guys off the street."