Three Willard defendants accused of committing an armed robbery each will have to post $60,000 before being released from the Huron County Jail.
The three men are accused of entering an Austin Drive, Willard, apartment and brandishing a firearm “in an attempt to gain property and cash,” Norwalk Assistant Law Director T. Douglas Clifford said.
Ryan M. Forte, 21, of 410 E. Walton St., Lot 23, was charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. His accomplices, Jason E. Maye 23, of 818 Main St., Apt. 3A, and Byron A. Lovo, 20, of 166 Second St., were charged with aggravated burglary and complicity to aggravated robbery.
“It’s our understanding Mr. Forte was holding the firearm,” Clifford said. “There was a great degree of distress the victim received.”
One of the victims, a woman, came to the Willard Police Department about 3 p.m. Wednesday to report the incident.
“She said she and her husband had been robbed,” Huron County Sheriff’s Sgt. Annette McLaughlin said. “They had removed her phone service. That’s why she was at the police department.”
The two victims were threatened with the weapon, Detective Sgt. Dane Howard said. “It ended up being a big CO2 pistol, which we later recovered.”
He credited McLaughlin with “cultivating the information” in breaking the case. Howard said all three suspects admitted to the crime to him during their respective interviews.
The Willard Police Department, state Highway Patrol and Ohio Bureau of Identification and Investigation were involved in the investigation. Bob McDowell, the investigator for Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler’s office, handled police dog Theo during the probe.
“It was an awesome display of teamwork,” Howard said.
Capt. Bob McLaughlin, Annette’s husband, followed up on various leads and found Maye on South Main Street between 5 and 5:30 p.m.
“That interview led to the two other suspects,” Howard said about Forte and Lovo, who were discovered on East Walton Street about an hour later.
“Capt. McLaughlin used a search warrant to search that residence,” Howard continued.
The search warrant netted a stolen digital camera and bandanas the men reportedly used to cover their faces during the robbery, Annette McLaughlin said. She said all three suspects had cash on them, which is believed to have been stolen from the victims’ apartment.
Maye denied being a flight risk during his Norwalk Municipal Court bond hearing Thursday.
“There’s no way I could get bonded out,” he told Judge John Ridge by closed circuit television. “I guess I’m stuck here.”
Forte said he is on vacation from Miami, Fla. and is staying with his mother.
The third defendant, Lovo, began to talk about the case before Ridge warned him the bond hearing wasn’t the appropriate time. “I know what I did was wrong,” Lovo began.