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Friday, February 7, 2020

Retired Officer Helps FTPD Catch ‘Porch Pirates’ at Gettysburg Square Apartments

Retired officer Ronnie York helps FTPD catch two people accused of stealing packages from Gettysburg Apartments.

By Jessie Eden

They say it was the Grinch that Stole Christmas… but that wasn’t the case at Gettysburg Apartments in December. This may feel like 'old news', but we just couldn't let this story go untold.

A local, retired police officer used his skills to catch some suspected thieves in the act...and his actions helped police recover nearly $3,000 in packages belonging to residents at his apartment complex.

And, it all started with a disposable Waffle House cup.

Ronnie York lives at Gettysburg Square and while checking his security cameras on December 3, he noticed a girl running away from his building to a nearby car. He didn’t think much of it…until he heard from his neighbors that some things had been stolen. Then, it happened again. “I saw it again that Wednesday between 6pm and 8:30pm. It was the same Kia and the same girl crossed the street to building 85… so I took that to the police. Then, the same thing happened on Thursday,” said Ronnie.

Soon enough, Ronnie knew exactly what was going see, Ronnie had a long career that started in Southgate when he became a firefighter. He then became a police officer for Southgate, being one of the many that responded to the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire. He then moved onto a position at Campbell County Courthouse and finished up his career at the Kenton County Courthouse.

In total, Ronnie spent about 30 years in law enforcement. So, basically, it’s REALLY hard to get ANYTHING past Ronnie.

When he realized there may be ‘porch pirates’ in his community, he decided to do something. “I thought, well, ‘What the hell, what can I do?” So, I took an empty Waffle House cup and put it in a box and waited in my car with my phone and my keys and sure enough, 20 minutes until 7 p.m., they came and grabbed the package,” said Ronnie.

A photo of the package Ronnie used to place the cup in and leave as a decoy for the 'porch pirates'.

Ronnie then called the police while the two thieves were making their usual rounds and stealing more packages and Ronnie knew they would have to come out the same way they went in…

“I met them {the police} at the entrance while they were hitting the rest of the apartments. When they went to leave, the cruiser was there waiting for them,” said Ronnie.

Fort Thomas Officers Brad Reichenbach and Brandon Vance responded to the scene and identified the people in the Kia as possible suspects. Two people were arrested, one adult and one juvenile. In a press release, the Fort Thomas Police Department said the value of all the packages in the suspected thief’s car totaled over $2,800. With the help of police, many of the items were returned back to residents.

In total, police say, the duo likely took close to $4,000 worth of packages.

"This is one of those times, we as police, love to see and be a part of! It truly is a perfect example of what a collaboration of the community and police department can achieve when we work together.  We have always stressed the need for the public to be an additional set of eyes and ears for us," said Sgt. Adam Noe of FTPD, "This great work by Mr. York just shows what we can achieve working as a team! We can’t thank Mr. York  enough for his determination and efforts as well as our officers who worked diligently to identify the victims in this case!”

The adult, Tabitha Baker of Newport, now faces charges for mail theft and unlawful transaction and receiving stolen property. The juvenile was charged and released to a guardian.

Unfortunately, Ronnie did not get his Waffle House cup back...but he certainly received something MUCH better.

The officers thanked Ronnie for his help and even awarded him with a “Challenge Coin” to recognize him for his hard work in tracking down the suspects. “It meant a lot that the police took the time to recognize me and gave me a challenge coin. I put it right next to some of my other awards from Ky State Police and competition shooting badges,” said Ronnie.

Ronnie has also received many words of thanks from his neighbors so hats off to Mr. Ronnie York!

If you believe you had a package stolen from the Gettysburg area around Dec. 3, please contact Officer Reichenbach or Officer Vance at 859-441-6562 or Campbell County Dispatch at 859-292-3622.

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