YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Armed with arrest warrants, members of the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force and Mahoning County Sheriff’s office spent the day criss-crossing the area as part of “Operation Safe Check,” targeting convicted sex offenders.
“There’s been 18 felony indictments as a result of these checks with people not being compliant,” Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene said.
On Tuesday, police searched for those 18 people, all charged with not properly registering their addresses with authorities, which was a condition of their original sentences. Police have arrested all 18, but some turned themselves in.
On a number of occasions, authorities found the suspects right where they thought they would be, like Robert Berch, who was arrested at his home on the west side.
“Over the last couple weeks, we got the cases together, worked them up, and today we’re attempting the addresses that we dug up to see if they’re there,” Deputy U.S. Marshal Dan Deville said.
While deputies had to go to Warren to find Christopher Hunter, a couple others were discovered outside the area, one of them in Pennsylvania..
“In this instance, we had one over in New Castle,” Deville said. “So I reached out to the marshal’s in Pittsburgh this morning. They went out, checked the address we had identified. He was there, he was arrested.”
Deville will face extradition, as well as possible federal charges for leaving the state of Ohio without permission.
There was also a bit of luck involved. After learning John Redd often walked from his mother’s house on the west side to a nearby bottle shop, deputies found him at the store, carrying a police scanner and a ski mask.
Although the Marshals have been running “Operation Safe Check” the last nine years, local authorities said that with roughly 280 convicted sex offenders living in Mahoning County, local compliance is better than elsewhere.
“The average across the state of Ohio is about 10 to 11 percent, from what I understand,” Greene said. “So us being a large county coming in at 7 percent, we were pretty happy with that. What we obviously want is 100 percent compliance, but we are being realistic about that. We know we are not going to get that, so we are doing everything we can to make sure everybody that are sex offenders are living where they are supposed to be.”
Those picked up included:
- James Shank, 48, Struthers
- Alvin Kennedy, 62, Youngstown
- Chauncey Higgs, 24, Youngstown
- Christopher Hunter, 35, Austintown
- Dana Jackson, 45, Youngstown
- Darrell Robbins, 31, Youngstown
- Frederick Allen, 36, Youngstown
- John Redd, 43, Youngstown
- Mark McGee, 31, Youngstown
- Michael Bond, 28, Youngstown
- Michael A. DeSantis, 29, Warren
- Robert Berch, 56, Youngstown
- Zachary Bryner, 22, Youngstown
- Shajehan Haywood, 43, Youngstown
- Christopher Rivera, 42, Youngstown
- Joseph Smith, 48, Youngstown
- Andre Mason, 34, Youngstown
- Christian Little (no information available)
If you have information on a sex offender wanted by law enforcement, you can call 866-4WANTED or text the key word “Wanted” and your tip to TIP411.