West Chester police arrest theft, assault suspect on retention pond island

A Fairfield man who tried to flee from West Chester police by running to a marshy island in an apartment complex retention pond is facing felony charges.

Police were called Tuesday morning to Landings Apartment complex on a report of someone trying to break into the complex office, according to Barb Wilson, township spokeswoman.

Zachary Ballard was confronted by a staff member and allegedly assaulted that person with a hammer. The victim was able to get away unharmed.

Ballard then fled to a nearby retention pond and swam to the island, according to police.

Officers used a raft to reach him on the island, then forced Ballard to the water’s edge before taking him into custody.

Ballard, 29, of Fairfield was transported back to the shore, treated for minor injuries and taken to jail. He is charged with breaking and entering and felonious assault, both felonies. A court date has not yet been set.

Police are asking anyone who may live near apartment complexes off Smith Road, Beckett Road or Hutzelman Way and believe they have been a victim of theft from May 1 to May 18 to contact the West Chester Police Department at 513-777-2231.

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