A man was arrested at gunpoint after a Norwalk police officer saw him rummaging through a victim's vehicle early Sunday.
Joel E. Gough, 19, who reported being a homeless Norwalk resident, was found in a detached garage behind the 100 block of West Main Street about 4:30 a.m. He was charged with breaking and entering and vehicle trespassing.
One of the victims, a resident in the 200 block of West Main Street, reported seeing Gough inside his wife's vehicle. When he asked the suspect what he was doing, "the male nonchalantly closed the vehicle door and started walking southeast toward South West Street through the back yards," according to the police report.
Officer Jared Ferris interviewed the husband while Officer David Daniels searched the area on foot. Daniels then reported discovering a vehicle with the dome light that someone entered and rifled through the center console.
"Officer Daniels also noticed the main door to a detached garage at 5 Jackson St. was standing wide open. ... The vehicle in front of the garage at 5 Jackson St. had also been entered as evidenced by the driver's door being ajar and the console being rifled through," Ferris wrote.
Assuming the suspect walked east through back yards on the south side of West Main, Ferris continued going eastbound while Daniels stayed in the Jackson Street area.
Ferris reported hearing a rustling noise in the back yard of The Victorian Lady Bed & Breakfast, 175 W. Main St., as he was walking down the driveway. The officer saw a shirtless male suspect wearing white plaid shorts walking around a large shed east of Victorian Lady. Ferris radioed Daniels about what he saw and requested further radio silence.
"The male continued east through the back yards until he reached South Garfield Street. I stayed behind the corner and watched the male, waiting for an opportunity to close the distance between us without alerting him to my presence. I did not want the suspect to have an opportunity to escape," Ferris wrote.
While the officer remained out of sight, he reported seeing Gough enter a vehicle at 2 S. Garfield St. and unsuccessfully attempt to enter a few vehicles parked along the alley on the east side of the street. Ferris said he saw the suspect reportedly enter a red Kia owned by a West Main Street man and he tried to enter a locked, black pickup truck parked next to the Kia.
"I closed the gap between us and heard him open the door of a detached garage at the rear of the property. I went over the fence and observed the main door to the garage standing open. There was a green Ford Mustang ... inside the garage," the officer wrote.
Ferris drew his firearm and shined his flashlight inside the garage. The officer reported seeing the suspect lying across the driver's seat of the Mustang as he apparently rifled through the glove compartment and center console.
"I yelled out 'Norwalk police' and ordered him to show his hands. The male froze and didn't immediately show his hands. I ordered him out of the vehicle at gunpoint as I did not see his hands and did not know if the suspect had any weapons," Ferris wrote.
The officer ordered Gough to face away from him, step backward toward the sound of his voice and get on his knees.
"Joel was very disrespectful when I was searching his pockets, claiming everything in his pockets was his personal property. When Officer Daniels put Joel in the rear of his cruiser, he attempted to kick the door open as it was being closed. Joel was pushed to the other side of the cruiser and secured," Ferris wrote.
The Kia owner gave a written statement in which he said he didn't give Gough permission to enter his vehicles or garage. Police also said the victim confirmed everything in the Mustang belonged to him and Gough didn't leave behind items from another vehicle.
After Gough was transported to the Huron County Jail, a West Main Street resident reported someone entered his vehicle and stole $20-$30 in change and a bottle of Jack Black cologne.
At 9:30 a.m., a Jackson Street resident reported someone entered his unlocked 2007 Dodge pickup and stole his brown leather wallet and a small amount of coins, Officer Larry Noftz wrote in his report. The man's wallet contained a JCPenney credit card.