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Five Charged in Organized Crime Investigation
CINCINNATI, Ohio (Joe Webb) -- You may not recognize the names but you likely remember the high-profile crimes that landed five local men in jail Thursday.
A two year investigation led to a 19 count indictment including charges of engaging in organized crime. David Kestler, Daniel Wedig, Jason Chadwick, Coleman Watts, and Frederick Gilliam are all in custody after the indictments were returned Wednesday.
The group is accused of collectively stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from several small businesses in the region. Police say they targeted ATMs and safes. They often used power tools and heavy equipment during their break-ins.
Investigators say they are responsible for the botched attempt last winter of an ATM on Celestial in Mt. Adams. That night, they used a stolen front-end loader to pick up the ATM and load it into a stolen dump truck. Police recovered the loader and dump truck. The money box for the ATM was left at the scene.
Investigators say they are also responsible for the robbery of a Madeira gas station where they used a concrete saw to cut into an ATM. Much of that crime was caught on surveillance tape.
According to the indictment the men robbed the Hahana Beach Club in Anderson Township, the Cash America store in Silverton, a Sunoco station in Madeira, Degree Landscaping in West Chester and the ATM in Mt. Adams. Some of the stolen property has been recovered.
Silverton and Madeira police are credited with spotting a connection between the crimes.
West Chester police helped organize an investigative task force overseen by the Ohio Attorney Generals office.
Kestler, Chadwick and Wedig are charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
Chief Assistant Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney Julie Wilson said they were the ringleaders. This an ongoing, more organized activity than just a couple of guys getting together and chatting about robbing a gas station and then doing one more. That charge indicates there was more to it than just a one or two time event.