Walmart theft: Franklin police chase suspects on I-75, ending in crash, arrest in Dayton

Credit: Warren County Jail

Credit: Warren County Jail

A Dayton man is scheduled for a preliminary hearing next week in Franklin Municipal Court following a Thursday police pursuit that started in Franklin and ended in Dayton.

Franklin police responded about 9:30 a.m. to Walmart at 1275 E. Second St., about an alleged theft that occurred with the suspects running from the store and getting into a car. The suspects fled out of the parking lot to Second Street and onto Interstate 75 North.

Police said the pursuit lasted 30 minutes at speeds of 80 mph.

Acting Chief Brian Pacifico said officers caught up to the vehicle and attempted to stop the suspects. He said the vehicle failed to stop and fled from officers, continuing north on I-75.

The vehicle exited at South Dixie Drive, traveled through Moraine’s jurisdiction, then back onto I-75 north. Pacifico said the vehicle exited at Edwin C. Moses Boulevard and traveled throughout the city of Dayton. At one point during the pursuit, the driver traveled into oncoming lanes of travel for a short time, then back over into the proper lanes of travel.

While on James H. McGee approaching North Gettysburg Road, the pursuing officer utilized a precision immobilization technique (PIT) maneuver, causing the vehicle to spin out, go off the roadway and come to rest on a fence, Pacifico said.

The driver, Rolando Jermaine Caldwell, 39, of Dayton, was taken into custody without incident. The vehicle was found to be stolen out of Dayton, and that Caldwell had warrants out of Dayton for abduction, theft, and several felony drug possession charges.

The passenger, Kirsten Watts, 31, was taken into custody without incident and found to have a theft warrant out of Miamisburg.

The Franklin court will determine at next week’s preliminary hearing if the charges against Caldwell should be considered by a Warren County grand jury for possible indictment. The hearing is set for 2 p.m. May 21.

Caldwell is charged with fleeing, a third-degree felony; receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony; and theft, a first-degree misdemeanor. In addition, he is being charged with drug paraphernalia, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, driving under suspension/FRA suspension third time or more in three years, a fourth-degree misdemeanor; and for passenger and driver not wearing a seat belt and possession of a controlled substance, both minor misdemeanors.

He is being held at the Warren County Jail under a $49,995 cash only bond, according to jail records.

This was the second pursuit by Franklin police in as many days. On Wednesday night, police pursued the vehicle around Franklin, through Carlisle, and into Middletown.

The driver, Robert Theodore Harsh, 54, of Middletown, was arrested without incident. He was arraigned in Franklin Municipal Court Friday where a preliminary hearing was also set for 2 p.m. May 21.

Credit: Warren County Jail

Credit: Warren County Jail

Harsh was charged with fleeing, a third-degree felony, and felony obstructing official business, a fifth-degree felony.

In addition to the charges in Franklin, Harsh has warrants from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and Franklin County, Indiana.

He is being held in the Warren County Jail under a $35,000 bond.

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