By Frank Lewis
The Portsmouth Police Department has made an arrest in an aggravated robbery that resulted in a few traumatic moments for an employee of Hilltop Market, at around 3 p.m. on Friday. Ryan Slusher, 31, of Oak Hill, was charged with aggravated robbery a felony of the first degree.
An employee of the store reported to police that a white male subject entered the store at about 2:50 p.m. and kept wandering around the store looking at different items. The subject reportedly then approached the counter with a few items and laid them on the counter for the employee to ring up. The employee told police she started entering the items in the cash register and the subject pulled a gun and pointed it at her head and began screaming at her to give him all the money out of the register.
The employee said she could not get the register open as long as the sale had not been completed and the longer it took for her to get the register cleared and open the more irate the gunman became. The employee said that by the time she got it open the gunman had come around the counter and was standing over top of her pointing the gun at her head and screaming at her.
The employee said she got the register open and gave the subject the money and he fled the store. The subject was seen entering a white work van that was parked on the north side of the business and was seen fleeing the area. He was described as a white male, wearing a white T-shirt and shorts. He was described as being in his mid-20s with a scruffy appearance.
Operations Captain Lynn Brewer said officers investigating the robbery were able to obtain access to the security video in the store. On the video, officer Gabe Metzler said he noticed details of the suspects clothing that were similar to an earlier assault report he had taken. Metzler reportedly pulled up an archive photo of the assault suspect on his computer and he said he confirmed that Ryan Slusher was both the suspect from the assault report and the subject who robbed the Hilltop Market.
Brewer said detective Lieutenant Mike Hamilton and Metzler checked several locations that Slusher is known to frequent but were unable to locate him. Then, Sunday night at about 11:30 an officer on the afternoon shift received a tip that Slusher was at a residence at 2127 Vermont Ave. Officers on the afternoon shift reportedly surrounded the house and when Sergeant Tom Lancaster approached the front door of the residence, officer Chris Hedrick observed Slusher attempting to escape out a side window of the residence and he was taken in to custody.
Slusher was taken to the Scioto County Jail where he was held until Monday morning when he was scheduled for arraignment on the charge. Brewer said the case will then be presented to the Scioto County grand jury where officers will seek additional charges including use of a firearm in commission of a felony and charges related to restraining the liberty and freedom of the store employee.
“We would like to thank neighbors of the area who were willing to come forward and give information after they found out the store had been robbed,” Brewer said. “Their observations played an important role in this case being solved as quickly as it was.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.
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