By FRANK LEWIS
PDT Staff Writer
A man and woman who, police say, took their infant with them on a string of burglaries across the state were arrested and charged Wednesday for the theft of vehicles, guns, televisions and many other items.
Arrested were Matthew R. Jarrells, 31, and his girlfriend, Heather N. Bays, 23, both of Portsmouth. The couple also faces child endangering charges.
Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said Jarrells and Bays are suspected in a string of burglaries and breaking-and entering cases in the west, central, northwest and northeast parts of the county as well as crimes in other parts of the state. The couple were arrested Wednesday morning when deputies said they discovered in the Four Keys motel parking lot the stolen vehicle the couple were driving.
Donini said a neighbor of one of the burglary victims in Shawnee Forest provided a description and partial tag number from the suspect vehicle as it was leaving the driveway. That vehicle description was also described in Minford-area burglaries.
“After a detective changed one of the letters in the tag number that our office had been given by the witness, a tag number which originally came back to a completely different vehicle from the Lorain County area near Cleveland, that number came back to a stolen vehicle out of Obetz, Ohio, that matched our suspect vehicle perfectly,” Donini said. “And after speaking to an Obetz Police Department detective it was discovered that the suspects in that case were from our county.”
Donini said the suspect names were cross-referenced with security video from a Minford crime scene and deputies identified Jarrells and Bays.
“We put out a BOLO (be-on-the-lookout) for the stolen vehicle, which was a late-model Toyota Camry LE, red in color. On Wednesday morning, one of our deputies was going south on U.S. 23 and noticed the vehicle at the Four Keys parking lot,” Donini said. “Sheriff’s detectives, along with a Portsmouth Police Department officer, went there and the couple was placed under arrest as they attempted to exit the room.”
Donini said detectives recovered some of the stolen property from those burglaries as well as a burglary in Lawrence County, and the vehicle stolen from Obetz, and have searched a Jackson County residence. He said property was also recovered at a residence in Portsmouth. Donini said detectives are still working to recover more stolen property.
Donini said Scioto County Children Services took the child, which was later turned over to family members.
Both Jarrells and Bays are charged with three counts of burglary each and more charges will be presented to a Scioto County grand jury to include child endangering. Charges are also going to be filed on other individuals involved with those crimes.
The couple appeared Thursday in Portsmouth Municipal Court on the three charges of burglary and previous warrants for burglary and other crimes in other counties. Both have preliminary hearings set for May 3. Jarrells’ bond was set at $75,000, while Bays’ bond was set at $60,000.
Donini credited the residents, deputies and detectives who worked the cases for the quick arrest.
Donini said anyone with information about these cases should contact Detective Denver Triggs at 740-355-8245. He said all calls are kept confidential.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.