BIDWELL — After nearly four and half hours on the run, a Meigs County man was apprehened during the early morning hours on Tuesday morning after he allegedly invaded the home of an elderly woman.
Ryan E. Kauff, 30, of Middleport, was arrested by Gallia County sheriff’s deputies just after 5:30 a.m. Tuesday after two burglaries and a manhunt that lead deputies throughout the Bidwell area.
Kauff is reportedly being charged with two counts of aggravated burglary, one count of burglary and three counts of theft following the events of Tuesday morning.
According to a press release issued by the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, Constance Evans, 79, of Payne Street, Bidwell, contacted the Gallia County 911 Dispatch Center at approximately 1 a.m. after a male, later identified as Kauff, forced his way into her home and attacked her.
Evans reported that at approximately 12:50 a.m. Tuesday, she heard a knock on her door and saw someone standing on her front porch. She told deputies she did not open the door, but did ask the person outside who they were and what they wanted.
The victim reported that the male told her that he needed money for gas. Evans told him that she had no money to give him, so he then asked to use her phone.
When she opened the door to hand him the phone, Evans told deputies that the male pushed her back and came into the house demanding money.
After a scuffle, the suspect reportedly fled out the front door, only to return back inside and attack Evans again, this time taking her rings off of her fingers — items valued at $3,000.
According to the release, following this first call, 911 dispatchers reportedly received a report of a possible prowler at a residence on Ohio 160 in Bidwell. While at this second residence, deputies discovered footprints leading into the woods near River Valley Middle School.
While on the suspect’s trail, the deputies were again dispatched to another call in the immediate area, this time a burglary-in-progress call at a nearby residence. Once on scene, deputies discovered that Kauff had allegedly made entry in this second house and had removed a large flat-screen television from the home.
Deputies then followed Kauff’s trail from Ohio 160 to 14101 Ohio 554 where, following a search of the residence, the suspect was finally located by a sheriff’s office K-9 unit and taken into custody.
Following the arrest of the suspect, Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning thanked the community for their assistance in the apprehension of the suspect on Tuesday.
“We want to thank those members of the Bidwell community who assisted us in this investigation. We had several tips that led to the arrest of the perpetrator and, ultimately, to where stolen property was located,” Browning said. “Crimes against the elderly are particularly despicable and we plan on prosecuting this case to the fullest extent.”
Local man Kenneth Ray Clark, 56, of Bidwell, was also charged in the incident and is facing a charge of receiving stolen property.
According to officials with the sheriff’s office, all the stolen items were recovered and returned to the victims Tuesday morning, and, despite the forced entry at the first victim’s residence, no injuries were reported.
Kauff and Clark will be arraigned in the Gallipolis Municipal Court.
Further information on this case will be released as it made available.