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Homeowners catch burglars in the act

Emil Whitis • Dec 15, 2012 at 3:23 PM

A surprise return by homeowners had a pair of burglars jumping out windows and busting down doors in a failed bid for escape Thursday night on Central Avenue.

Rolland Forney Jr., 34, and a 17-year-old Sandusky boy were charged with aggravated burglary and tampering with evidence.

Forney was also charged with robbery, theft, criminal damaging, assault and criminal damaging, while the teen was also charged with curfew violation.

A man and woman returned to their home in the 1400 block of Central Avenue at about 11:30 p.m. to find the back door wide open, Sandusky police said.  

After the couple walked into the living room, the teen jumped out a second-floor window and onto a roof, while Forney barreled down the stairs toward the front door, police said.  

The man of the house wasn’t about to let Forney go so easily. When the homeowner blocked the door, Forney allegedly punched him several times in the stomach, a police report said.  

Forney then bull-rushed the front door, busting it off its hinges, the report said.

Once outside, the teen and Forney regrouped and headed south on Central Avenue. Police rolled up moments later and found the homeowner lying on the front steps outside.

“(The homeowner) appeared to be injured as he was lying with his head towards the bottom step,” the report said. “There was also a small amount of blood coming from the right side of his mouth.”

Police quickly set up a perimeter and police dog Justice started to track the suspects. Officers spotted the duo sprinting down Central Avenue, arresting both of them near McDonough Street, the report said.  

Forney matched the description provided by the woman, police said.  

Also, a Cannon Power Shot camera hung from his neck. As police scrolled through the camera’s pictures, they saw several photos of the homeowner and his family.  

Other items found on Forney included miscellaneous coins; a cell phone; car keys; a woman's watch; a copper eagle pin; six pocket knives; a Leatherman tool; a red ruby bracelet; and a grooming kit.

“They had some of the folks' belongings on them,” Sandusky police Lt. Robert VanScoy said at the scene. “It’s pretty incriminating.”

Officers placed Forney and the teen in separate police cruisers.

From the back seat of a cruiser, Forney told a Register reporter he never went inside the house and he had no idea what police were talking about.

At about 12:30 a.m. Friday, half a dozen police cruisers were still at the scene.   

Sandusky police assistant Chief John Orzech said officers were quick to respond.

Among the officers involved: Rob Bess; Sean Orman; Robert VanScoy; Eric Graybill; Christopher Denny; Adam West; Brad Wilson; and Cameron Greenwalt.    

“The officers did an outstanding job of setting up a perimeter and quickly and safely apprehending the suspects,” Orzech said. “These guys are the future of the department and they’re real solid officers with good heads on their shoulders.”

The teen was taken to the Erie County Juvenile Detention Center, while late Friday Forney was still in the Erie County jail on $68,110 bond.

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