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Friday, October 5, 2018

Fort Thomas Car Thieves Caught with Help of Observant Midway Cafe Owner

Last week, Fort Thomas Police reported that at around 3:45 p.m., an unidentified male and female stole a 1997 GM Yukon that was parked near Grassroots & Vine located at 1011 S. Fort Thomas Avenue.

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Detective Nick Hoffman said that prior to stealing the vehicle, the male walked into Grassroots & Vine and told an employee that he was new to the area and asked questions about the menu and left.

A 1997 GM Yukon is Dark Blue with a Silver Stripe and rust on the roof was stolen.

A few days later, thanks to the help of a neighboring business owner, police have arrested the pair and recovered the vehicle.

RELATED: Car Stolen in Fort Thomas and Police Need Your Help

Hoffman said that Sgt. Nathan Day and Officers Brandon Laffin and Sean Donelan arrested Michael R. Chaira, 37, and Meria E. McClanahan, 34, on Saturday, September 29, and charged them with Theft by Unlawful Taking $500 or more but Under $10,000 , a Class D Felony.

Chaira and McClanahan, both from New Richmond, Ohio, had active Campbell County E-Warrants.

Erika Kraus, one of the owners of Midway Cafe (1017 S. Fort Thomas Ave., Fort Thomas, KY 41075) spotted the duo outside of her establishment and thought they looked familiar.

"I remembered seeing the article on Fort Thomas Matters two days earlier and thinking I had seen them before. The guy looked like he was trying to sell something to our customers sitting outside and the girl was across the street," she said. "I pulled up the article on my phone as fast as I could and they were wearing the exact same clothes. I was pretty sure it was then so I called Campbell County Dispatch."

Kraus didn't stop there.

As Chaira and McClanahan headed South on Fort Thomas Avenue she stayed on the phone with Dispatch to rely where they were heading so that police could locate them.

"I felt a little like a crime fighter," said Kraus, jokingly. "Once they got around the bend, I let police handle the rest." 

They didn't get far.

Police caught up to them in the 1400 block of S. Fort Thomas Avenue and arrested them.

Hoffman said that the vehicle was located in Batavia, Ohio.

"We do want to remind the public to lock up your vehicles, leave valuables out of sight, and to not leave keys in the vehicle," said Det. Hoffman.

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