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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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The fourth man arrested in connection with a violent home burglary in Oak Harbor appeared in court for the first time this week.

Paul Thebeaux, 26, of Oak Harbor, appeared before Ottawa County Municipal Court Magistrate Lou Wargo on Monday to answer to three charges of aggravated burglary.

Wargo granted him a court appointed attorney and set his next court date for Dec. 13.

Prior to setting bail, Wargo asked Sgt. Robert Paulsen of the Oak Harbor Police Department to make a statement.

“We ask for a cash bond,” Paulsen said. “The victims in this case are highly fearful for their lives.”

Thebeaux also spoke. He said he realized that he would not get a recognizance bond but asked that a reasonable bond be set.

Wargo set the bond at $80,000 with no 10 percent provision for each felony charge and $8,000 and $2,000 for other pending misdemeanor charges, including trespassing.

Thebeaux was picked up Sunday in the Fremont area. The details of the arrest were not available.

He was the last person sought in connection with the invasion of the residence near the central section of Oak Harbor about 3:30 a.m.  Dec. 5. Three others charged with three counts each of aggravated burglary were in custody by the next day.

Travis Edwards, 19, of Port Clinton, Cody McClanahan, 19, of Oak Harbor and Steven Ryf, 22, of Fremont, are currently behind bars at the Ottawa County Detention Facility. They had initial hearings last week in municipal court and were to return beginning Friday for further proceedings.

The hearings will be to determine if there is probable cause to turn the cases over to an Ottawa County grand jury, Wargo said.

The four apparently knew the victims but did not make any attempts to hide their identities during the break-in, said Oak Harbor Police Chief Steve Weirich.

Paulsen refused to give the street address for the residence or victims’ names because he said the victims still worry about threats received that night.

According to police, four family members, all males of various ages, were home when the attack happened.

One person was asleep on the couch when suddenly the silence was broken by pounding at the front door and yelling.

“It was the father who eventually opened the door,” Paulsen said.

Once he did, the officer said, one of the assailants barged in, threw him up against the wall and began beating on him.

“They threw him against the wall so hard it broke the glass in the door area,” Paulsen continued.

One other house member was seriously injured and another had a knife put his throat, according to police.

The foursome reportedly took some DVDs and had demanded $1,200 from the family, which they didn’t get.

They also broke a television, window and all the cell phones they could find before departing.

“They gathered up the phones and smashed them with a skillet,” Paulsen recounted.

Police didn’t know anything about the crime for another five hours.

“You have to realize, they were pretty scared,” Paulsen said of the family not immediately reporting the burglary and beatings.

The father went to a lumber yard in the morning to get some wood to repair the damages. He told some other people about what happened and those people convinced him to call police, Paulsen said.

As Paulsen and Weirich later discussed the next steps in the case, one of the alleged assailants – Cody McClanahan - walked into the police station.

“He said something like ‘I heard you guys were looking for me. He didn’t say why,” the chief said.

Edwards was picked up later Thursday in Port Clinton by Paulsen, city police and members of the Ottawa County Drug Task Force.

Paulsen had traveled to Port Clinton to obtain the arrest warrants that day at the court.

“They decided to check out Travis’ place since he was in Port Clinton,” the chief explained.

Ryf was found early Friday at an Ottawa Street home of a friend, the chief said.

This is the second break-in reported to Oak Harbor police in less than a month. In the other, someone was home at the time but never saw the thief.

However, the chief does not believe the two crimes related.

“I think this one may have been more of a personal nature,” Weirich said of the more recent home invasion.

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