All in the family: Uncle, nephew charged in vehicle thefts

Cary Ashby • Dec 5, 2012 at 11:30 AM

A local uncle and nephew each must post a $30,000 bond in connection with stealing two pickup trucks and an all-terrain vehicle.

Ronald D. Ruff, 34, of 2560 Niver Road, Willard, and his uncle, Randy Ruff, 40, of Sandusky Street, Plymouth, are charged with three counts each of grand theft of a motor vehicle. The fourth-degree felonies are in connection with a Nov. 6 incident on Townline Road 111, Plymouth, which remains under investigation by the Huron County Sheriff's Office.

"There were several deputies involved," Norwalk Assistant Law Director Scott Christophel said.

A third co-defendant also has been charged with three counts of grand theft of a motor vehicle, Sammie Shaarda, 27, of 3233 Austin Drive, Apt. 1, Willard. Christophel said Shaarda is dating one of the Ruffs. Her bond was set at $15,000 total.

If the Ruffs and Shaarda post their respective bonds, they are prohibited from having contact with four witnesses, three men and a woman.

Detectives declined to comment on the case, citing the ongoing investigation. Detective Bill Duncan is leading the probe.

Christophel, when presenting the cases to Norwalk Municipal Court Judge John Ridge, said both Ruffs have "significant" criminal histories.

Ronald Ruff's prior convictions include armed robbery, carjacking and various weapon violations.

"I think some of them may be from out of state," Christophel said.

Ruff, during his bond hearing Tuesday afternoon, said "a lot of those charges were dismissed."

One count of gross sexual imposition against Ruff has been transferred to Huron County Common Pleas Court for a possible grand jury indictment.

Randy Ruff's prior convictions include intimidation of a crime victim or witness, resisting arrest and theft of a firearm.

In late May 2007, Ruff was sentenced to two years in prison for the local theft of a firearm.

Almost exactly four months later, he received a three-year prison term for intimidation. Ruff pleaded guilty to threatening to harm now-retired Lt. Annette McLaughlin, who investigated and arrested him in connection with a March 3, 2010 break-in on Greenbush Road, Willard.

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