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01-22-03: Mounties aid in local theft investigation
The Daily Standard

    A search warrant stemming from a Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigation into Internet transactions involving stolen property was executed Friday afternoon at a Dublin Township residence.
    Officers went to the home of Richard K. Heppeard, 7410 Ohio 117, Rockford, around 4 p.m., as a result of an investigation started last April in the Canadian province of Manitoba. The investigation determined stolen property crossed international borders into Ohio and in particular Mercer County.
    Constables from the agency's Serious Crime Unit had requested assistance from Mercer County Sheriff's Office in late October or early November. Local detectives subsequently were assigned to the case involving the sale of stolen property over an Internet auction site. After confirming details and sharing information, a constable flew to Ohio to continue the investigation.
    Detectives assisted the unidentified Canadian officer in applying for a search warrant through Celina Municipal Court. Judge James Scheer issued the document at 2:30 p.m. Friday, directing sheriff's office personnel to search the Heppeard property. The warrant described five hydroponic grow lights as stolen property believed to be at the residence. Such lights are used widely for indoor gardening.
    One of the five lights as well as a Priority Mail container believed to be used for shipment were recovered during the search.
     The residents, who were home at the time, denied having knowledge the lights were stolen and offered records of computer transactions as verification. Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey told The Daily Standard this morning that Heppeard kept one light and resold the other four. He described the Rockford man as "very cooperative" with investigators.
    Grey declined to release additional details of the case pending conclusion of the investigation by the Canadian agency.
    "With the Internet it is so easy for crime to cross not only jurisdictional boundaries, but also international boundaries," he said. "It is refreshing to see the cooperation between law enforcement agencies from two separate countries working toward successful investigations of criminal activity."


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