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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Burglary at Johnson Elementary Thwarted by Police and Citizen Tip

Johnson Elementary under construction earlier this year. A tip from a neighbor helped lead to an arrest of a man suspected of burglary of materials at the construction site.

by Robin Gee, city council beat reporter

Thanks to a tip from a resident, Fort Thomas police were able to stop a crime in process and recover stolen materials from the construction site of the soon-to-be-completed Johnson Elementary School.

Bryan Fancher, a Fort Thomas resident, was apprehended in the early morning of October 25 when he was suspected of attempting to take copper pipe and spools of coated wire, valued at about $1,000, off the property. So far, he has five charges against him: receiving stolen property, possession of burglary tools, burglary 3rd degree, fleeing or evading police (on foot) and 3rd degree criminal trespassing.

Fort Thomas Police Chief Casey Kilgore said the alertness of the neighbor who called in, combined with quick action by his officers, led to an efficient and safe arrest.

"It is always great to see a citizen's tip turn into a significant arrest. Our schools are especially important to us, and we do know that sometimes construction sites are a target of thefts. It is unfortunate that someone would take advantage of our community by targeting a school that is under construction. I am very proud of all of the officers involved and very thankful that the person was apprehended without anyone getting injured."

Here’s what happened at Johnson

A neighbor noticed something didn’t seem right and alerted police that someone was on the Johnson construction site property before dawn. Officer Michael Dietz, the arresting officer, along with Sergeant Derek Faught and Officer Joe Paolucci arrived on the scene to investigate. Campbell County officers were called in to help set up a perimeter.

Fancher was confronted near the construction trailer. He tried to run away down Cliffgate, but eventually gave up and was handcuffed. Officers found wire cutters in his pocket and a pile of copper pipe and the spools of wire.

Fort Thomas Detectives Wayne Dutle and Nick Hoffman are conducting further investigation on the case.

The importance of good relations in our city

Sergeant Adam Noe, speaking for the department, echoed Kilgore on the value of citizen and police cooperation. "Our relationship and communication with the community is a vital part to our success as an agency. We rely on citizens and residents to report suspicious activity so we can respond and deter crime. We have found that when we have community involvement our success rate in solving crime increases significantly."

Having open communications and trust, are key, he said, "Our officers are on patrol regularly 24 hours a day but can't be everywhere all the time. Our residents know their neighborhoods ...We have always encouraged citizens to contact us immediately when things seem out of place or something is wrong. Having a positive relationship, trust of the community and an open line of communication with the community, helps us all by keeping Fort Thomas one of the safest places to live in Kentucky."

Words of wisdom going into the holiday season

While the holiday season can be a joyous one, it’s also a time when thefts from vehicles and homes are on the rise. Noe wanted to add a word of caution for residents as the season approaches. Lock your homes and cars, he said, and report break-ins to the police department.

"During this time of year, we also start to see people receiving more packages via Amazon amongst others. There are ways to limit your potential to have these items stolen. A few examples would include having them delivered to your work, having neighbors take the package when it arrives or leaving detailed instructions for the delivery person on where to store the package so it isn't visible from the porch. If you reside in an apartment or condo and expect packages to arrive, we recommend you have them delivered to the main office where you can pick them up," he added.

He also noted the department’s partnership with the Ring app system that began earlier this year as another way to protect property.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Police Department Announces Partnership With Ring


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