Five charged in organized crime investigation in Southwest Ohio

Men stole front loader, ripped out ATM, police say

CINCINNATI - The men suspected of stealing a front loader from the riverfront, driving it up to Mount Adams and ripping out an ATM are in jail, accused of a crime spree that netted hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and property, police say.

The five men are believed to be responsible for dozens of break-ins and thefts over the last two years, police say.

But the most sensational allegedly happened last Feb. 11. Police say three of the five thieves took the front loader from the Montgomery Inn Boathouse and crashed it into a Fifth Third ATM, knocking out power in Mount Adams. 

The same group robbed the Cash America pawn shop in Silverton, the Sunoco at Montgomery and Galbraith roads in Madeira and Hahana Beach in Anderson Township, police say.

John Janson, the daytime bartender at Hahana Beach, said the break-in happened in January 2012.

"Unknown amount of guys … broke in at night, grabbed a bunch of TVs, lifted the safe out …  I think they smashed up the jukebox pretty good … just made off with everything," Janson said.

9 On Your Side obtained surveillance photos showing one masked man inside the kitchen and two others by the outdoor bar.

"A couple of our female employees were a little scared, just like spooked by the whole thing,” Janson said.  “We watched it on tape and it was kind of creepy watching them come in here and take everything.

"It's good to have them held accountable. It's good to catch them and to know that the justice system is maybe working,” Janson said.

Four of the five men are charged with multiple counts. Three are accused of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Daniel Wedig and David Kestler are charged on 18 counts. Jason Chadwick is charged on 15 counts, Coleman Watts on three and Fredrick Gilliam on one count of obstructing justice.

All except for Gilliam were charged with theft, breaking and entering and theft of a motor vehicle, among others.

"This case is a great example of officers from multiple agencies coming together to investigate crimes that were clearly linked but happening in different jurisdictions," Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a release.

The Madeira and Silverton police departments were credited with identifying the pattern of crimes. West Chester police coordinated the effort under the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission.

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