Stolen truck recovered, two men arrested

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Two men were arrested and a truck and tools stolen from the St. Clairsville-Richland City School District last week were returned Monday.

“They compiled some evidence — enough for two arrest warrants,” St. Clairsville Police Chief Jeff Henry said of investigators on Tuesday. “Two people were arrested, and they’re in jail.”

Lonnie Ewan Jr., 30, of Steubenville is charged with breaking and entering, two counts of theft and one count of aggravated assault. Michael Trimmer Jr., 42, of St. Clairsville is charged with one count of breaking and entering and two counts of theft.

Henry said multiple incidents were reported the night of June 5, and police received a report of an aggravated assault by two males at East Main Street.

“Ewan was implicated in the aggravated assault by a resident,” Henry said. The alleged victim “was out after work, smoking a cigarette at his apartment. (Ewan and Trimmer) came walking by and made a conversation with him. I guess they wanted to know if he wanted to buy some dope. He says ‘no’ and they have some words. … Lonnie Ewan pulled a knife on him.”

Henry added that the pair reportedly then left.

“The victim … told the officers they left the scene heading to the school,” Henry said.

The chief speculated that the altercation could have been an attempted robbery, since drug dealers generally do not approach strangers and ask to sell drugs; the victim told police he did not know the two men. Henry said the suspects could have intended to rob the resident if he had produced money.

A breaking and entering was later discovered about 6:15 a.m. The maintenance building at the school campus apparently was broken into and a 2014 Dodge pick-up truck and numerous tools were stolen. The truck was recovered in Steubenville on Friday, along with several items.

Henry said St. Clairsville police Officers Adam Porter and Michael Duplaga obtained evidence to secure a arrest warrants for Ewan and Trimmer on Monday. Henry said the police departments of Mingo Junction, Steubenville, Wintersville and Cross Creek Townships assisted in the investigation.

He id he did not know whether the break-in at the school was planned or a spur of the moment decision.

“It might have been an opportunity. That guy needed a ride back to Steubenville, so he stole the truck along with the tools,” Henry speculated.

A camper valued at about $21,000 was stolen from Rolling Acres Campground that same night. While police initially thought there might have been a connection between the thefts, Henry said the stolen truck had been caught on video while traveling through Mingo Junction and was not pulling the trailer.

“So evidently somebody else took the camper. … (It looks like) it was just fluke it happened on the same day,” Henry said, adding that police continue to look for the vehicle. “It’s an expensive piece of equipment.”

Minor thefts from unlocked cars also were reported that night at Orchard Terrace Apartments. Henry reminds residents to exercise caution and lock their vehicles.