Friday, February 28th, 2014
Maria Stein teen charged in Minster home invasion
By Shelley Grieshop
MINSTER - A Maria Stein teen was arrested Thursday night in Hamilton and charged with holding a local father and son at gunpoint during a robbery Wednesday afternoon in Auglaize County.
Austin B. Ball, 18, was apprehended at 11:23 p.m. and remains in the Hamilton County Jail awaiting transfer to Auglaize County. He was charged with robbery, a first-degree felony, and theft of a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony.
Ball allegedly fled the scene of the robbery and home invasion at 01366 Amsterdam Road, Minster, about 1 p.m. Wednesday. He reportedly confronted residents Walter Heitkamp, 75, and his son, Craig Heitkamp, 32, with a gun and a knife before stealing the younger man's 2012 GMC Sierra pickup truck and fleeing the scene.
The Heitkamps were not harmed, according to Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon. Local authorities were summoned and searched the area but did not locate the suspect. Nearby New Bremen Local Schools was placed on a temporary lockdown as a precaution.
The sheriff's office said detectives on Thursday followed up on leads from Mercer and Auglaize county residents. The tips led officials to Ball and the stolen vehicle in the Hamilton area, a press release said.
Detectives obtained a warrant from Auglaize County Municipal Court and arrested Ball at a residence on Curtis Drive in Hamilton, according to booking records.
Solomon praised the teamwork shown by law enforcement in capturing the fugitive.
"This arrest is a result of great work on the part of the detectives and deputies from the Auglaize County Sheriff's Office," he said. "Also, the Hamilton, Ohio, Police Department did an outstanding job of working with our detectives."
The sheriff also gave credit to local residents for their help.
"This is a great example of a collaborative effort with the citizens and law enforcement working together," he said.