Dayton police have charged a man in connection to a strong-arm robbery that took place Saturday afternoon inside First Baptist Church, 202 E. Houston St. in Dayton.
According to Lt. Shane Burleigh, the suspect, Jordan Jerrell Stephens, 20, is accused of robbing and accosting an office worker inside the church around 3 p.m. Saturday.
“He and his girlfriend had been to the church food bank previously. They went back to the church on Saturday and the lady inside told them she was just up there doing paperwork,” Burleigh said. “She wouldn’t let him in but somehow he gained access to the building. Suddenly he was there as she walked out of her office. He grabbed her from behind by the neck and threw her to the ground. He took her purse and told her if she got up he would kill her.”
After the man fled the scene, the victim called 9-1-1 to report the incident. Officers Chico Garcia and Michael Leffew arrived moments later, but the suspect had already left the area. The victim was shaken up but not seriously injured, Burleigh said.
The identity of the man was unknown at the time, but the church had a copy of the identification card of a young woman who was with the suspect during a visit to the food bank. Through associates of the young woman, police determined her whereabouts and brought her in for questioning, Burleigh said. Corporals Brian Chowns and Kristen Siebert, and Officer Josh Fregia assisted with locating the young woman.
According to Burleigh, the woman was a good witness and provided the identity of the suspect.
After corroborating some of the witness statements, we were ready to make an arrest but did not know where to find our suspect,” said Burleigh, adding that Stephens’ permanent address is unknown. “He is basically homeless. They have been crashing at friends’ homes, but he has ties to Cleveland and Dayton.”
At around 9 a.m. Monday, Det. Chris Duos, who had worked on the case overnight Sunday and was off-duty Monday, was driving through Dayton when he passed the suspect walking along Main St. near Linney St. He called in the suspect’s location to the police department and Sgt. Eric Ibarra arrived to make the arrest.
Burleigh said that Stephens is a prime suspect in another strong-arm robbery that took place in Dayton Sunday night, but he has not yet been charged with that crime.
“It’s still an ongoing investigation,” he said.
Stephens was booked into the Liberty County Jail Monday morning. His mug shot and bond information are not available at this time. As soon as that information becomes available, an update will be posted on http://www.BluebonnetNews.com.
By Vanesa Brashier, editor@BluebonnetNews.com