Five charged in organized crime investigation

Majority of group is accused of collectively stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from small businesses in Ohio.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Oct 3, 2013

Today Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters, Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil, West Chester Police Chief Erik Niehaus, Maderia Police Chief Frank Maupin, and Silverton Police Chief Bruce Molett announced the indictments of five people wanted in connection with an organized crime investigation in southwest Ohio.

Three of the five defendants are accused of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

According to investigators, the majority of the group is accused of collectively stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from several small businesses in southeast Ohio.  The suspects primarily targeted small businesses with ATMs or safes.

The following suspects were indicted by a Hamilton County Grand Jury on the following charges:

David Kestler, 18 counts
o Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity
o Breaking and Entering (4)
o Theft (6)
o Safecracking (4)
o Failure to Comply
o Theft of a Motor Vehicle (2)

Daniel Wedig, 18 counts
o Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity
o Breaking and Entering (4)
o Theft (6)
o Safecracking (4)
o Failure to Comply
o Theft of a Motor Vehicle (2)

Jason Chadwick, 15 counts
o Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity
o Breaking and Entering (3)
o Theft (5)
o Safecracking (4)
o Failure to Comply
o Theft of a Motor Vehicle

Coleman Watts, Three counts
o Breaking and Entering
o Theft of a Motor Vehicle
o Safecracking

Fredrick Gilliam, One count
o Obstructing Justice

The indictments are in connection to break-in and theft incidents at Hahanna Beach in Anderson Township, Cash America Pawn in Silverton, Sunoco in Maderia, and the 5/3rd Bank in Cincinnati.  Kestler and Wedig were also indicted in connection to a break-in at Degree Landscaping in West Chester.

Watts and Gilliam were indicted for their roles in the Sunoco and Cash America Pawn break-ins, respectively.

"This case is a great example of officers from multiple agencies coming together to investigate crimes that were clearly linked, but happening in different jurisdictions," DeWine said. "These defendants went on a crime spree that specifically targeted southwest Ohio business owners who were working to make an honest living and support their families."

The Maderia and Silverton police departments are credited with first identifying the pattern of crimes, and West Chester police coordinated the effort to form an investigative task force operated under the Ohio Attorney General's Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC).

“The arrests and indictments were a result of an OOCIC investigative task force made up of officers from Madeira Police Department, Silverton Police Department, West Chester Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. A great example of 'Cooperation in Operation,'” said Sheriff Neil.

“Thanks goes to all of the agencies involved in this investigation and particularly to Attorney General Mike DeWine and his staff," said Hamilton County Prosecutor Deters. "The Attorney General has been and continues to be a leader in helping to solve crimes throughout the state.  We appreciate all of his efforts to help keep Hamilton County and our entire state a safe place.”

Authorities served arrest warrants on the suspects this morning.