Police

BG police officers and firefighter promoted to leadership roles

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Three Bowling Green police officers and one firefighter were promoted into leadership positions Tuesday evening. “Sometimes we get lost in the numbers,” of running a city and managing budgets, Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter said to City Council members on Tuesday. But the swearing in ceremony for police and fire, she said, provide a connection between the city budget and the people who fill vital roles in the community. “We’re very proud of all of you. Congratulations,” Tretter said. Promoted in the police division were Lt. Mike Bengela, Sgt. Adam Skaff and Sgt. Brian Houser. “They have gone above and beyond the call in so many ways,” Police Chief Tony Hetrick said. “These are the kind of people we look to” for filling leadership roles. Fire Chief Bill Moorman congratulates Tony and Sarah Zmarzly. Tony was promoted to rank of lieutenant at City Council meeting. In the fire division, Tony Zmarzly was sworn in as lieutenant. Fire Chief Bill Moorman praised his service, and recognized the firefighters who filled the back of the council chambers to honor their fellow firefighter’s promotion. Also at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the new branding initiative for the city was unveiled by Wendy Chambers, executive director of the Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau. The new branding is intended to reflect the city’s energy. “This city is not sleepy. It’s engaged, accepting and hungry for smart growth,” Chambers said. Bowling Green is not what many people think, she added. “We’re better, cooler and more progressive,” Chambers said. Bowling Green is a small city with a big city mentality, she added. The city welcomes diversity, is open-minded, offers a kaleidoscope of activity and is eco-minded. Part of BG branding initiative The new branding effort is intended to show that this is not the other Bowling Green – in Kentucky. “Bowling Green has the guts to break barriers and the heart to bring others with them,” Chambers said. In addition to pushing the message on social media, the Convention and Visitors Bureau plans to look into a series of wearables and…

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BG advised to stay calm about wily coyote sightings

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News It’s that time of year, when Bowling Green Police Division gets calls about wily coyotes being spotted in some city neighborhoods. The rule of thumb is this – don’t worry, coyotes are much more fearful of humans and are likely to skidaddle at the least warning from people. “People have seen them in their neighborhoods,” primarily on the north side of the city and in the area around Wintergarden Park, Police Chief Tony Hetrick said. “It’s normal to see them, and they’re not normally a threat,” Hetrick said. Hetrick recalled his first coyote sighting in Bowling Green when he was working a midnight shift 12 years ago, and a coyote ran in front of his patrol car on Poe Road. “They do range freely in Wood County,” he said. “There are probably a lot more than people realize because they are so good at hiding.” The police division is asking that city residents only call to report a coyote sighting if it is threatening or in the very, very rare incident of a pet being attacked. “They are nothing to be alarmed about,” Hetrick said. “They are pretty afraid of people.” Quite often, coyotes are mistaken for dogs – and vice versa. Coyotes are slender animals, very similar in appearance to medium-sized dogs and much smaller than wolves, a species not currently found in Ohio. The majority of coyotes are gray, though some show a rusty, brown or off-white coloration.They have bushy tails which are usually tipped with black. Coyotes are most active at dawn and dusk, but may be seen frequently throughout the day. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, with dropping temperatures comes increased coyote activity in Ohio. Coyote activity builds in January and continues through March due to breeding season. During the months of April and May, coyotes tend to actively protect their litters as well, which could lead to potential conflicts with humans and pets. Keeping the following guidelines in mind when you encounter a coyote will help to prevent or reduce problems. Understand that coyotes are…


Underwear thief sentenced to 16 years in prison

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News A Bowling Green man has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for invading local homes and stealing hundreds of bras, panties and other personal items. Bradley Feasel, 34, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of burglary, plus one count each of attempted burglary, breaking and entering, and voyeurism. Feasel was picked up by Bowling Green Police Division one year ago – after hundreds of bras and panties, DNA from a pizza crust and intricate handwritten notes helped link him to at least a dozen burglaries committed in the city over a period of five years. Feasel, who was living at 236 S. Grove St. at the time of his arrest, has been held at the Wood County Justice Center for nearly a year. After a jury was selected and a trial date was set, Feasel waived his right to trial by a jury or judge, and changed his plea to all the charges to guilty on Nov. 19, 2018. And in December, Wood County Common Pleas Judge Reeve Kelsey sentenced Feasel to 16 years for the 15 charges. Bradley Feasel The judge also ordered that Feasel be classified as a Tier 1 sex offender, and that he submit to DNA testing. In his sentencing, Kelsey stated the “court reviewed the seriousness and recidivism factors, and considered that the victims of the offenses suffered serious economic and psychological harm as a result of the offenses.” The judge also noted that Feasel has a history of criminal convictions, and has not responded favorably to sanctions previously imposed for criminal offenses. After reading the victims’ statements, Kelsey continued, “the harm caused by these multiple offenses was so great and so unusual that no single prison term for any of the offenses committed as part of this course of conduct will reflect the seriousness of the offender’s conduct.” Feasel was also ordered to pay restitution to some of his victims. When police officers first picked up Feasel in the fall of 2017, they had no idea that so many cases would be linked to the defendant. But…


Kids find presents and police full of Christmas cheer

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Twelve-year-old Alize Rivera was nervous when she was told she was going Christmas shopping with a police officer. “I was actually scared. I’ve never been around cops,” Alize said. But it was a matter of seconds before Alize and her sister, Nahla Drones, 7, of Bowling Green, warmed up to the idea. By the time they steered their shopping carts to a toy aisle, they seemed quite at home. The shelves full of pink girlie toys had the sisters squealing with delight. As they debated over which toys to get, Bowling Green Police Officer Robin Short kept track of the dollar amounts for each girl – allowing them to decide if an item was too much. “There’s a need out there,” Short said. “And sometimes it’s not about the needs – it’s about building relationships.” The kids shopping Friday afternoon at Meijer in Bowling Green got plenty of gifts and goodwill from the police officers joining them. Nahla Drones checks out pillows. This is the eighth year for the shop with a cop event in Wood County, organized by Dan Van Vorhis of the Wood County Fraternal Order of Police. Last year, there were 135 kids signed up, with referrals from their schools or area police officers. This year there were 155 – with most of them shopping earlier this month in Perrysburg, and eight shopping Friday at Meijer in Bowling Green. Each child is given $125 to spend how they wish. “The community really does step up to donate,” Van Vorhis said. Many of the officers have heart-tugging stories from their years of shopping with kids in the program.       Bowling Green Detective Sgt. Doug Hartman remembers the children who spend their gift money on socks, underwear and presents for their siblings. “That’s the sad part,” he said. “Some kids spend more on necessities than they do toys.” Hartman recalled one little boy. “He said, ‘Maybe I should get soap.’ That just breaks your heart,” Hartman said. Det. Sgt. Doug Hartman shops with Noah Grant and his mom, Tonia Grant. On Friday,…


Shooting drill at high school prepares teachers, police and EMS for intruders

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The teachers were told the gunshots would be blanks. They knew the students screaming for help in the hallways were acting. And they had been prepared for the “shooters” trying to barge into their classrooms. But when the gunfire began, the adrenaline started pumping. “We could hear the shooting,” said Mary Lou Zweibel, Conneaut music teacher, who was barricaded in a classroom on the second floor of Bowling Green High School on Friday. Occasionally, someone in the classroom would peek out the window on the door to see if the coast was clear. “We could hear a person crying for help,” Zweibel said. “We decided to stay put.” Others took their chance running for the door. Science teacher Paula Williams put “the boot” mechanism in the classroom door to keep out intruders. She and others then moved tables to further block the door and covered the windows that could be seen from the glass hallway in the high school. “When we knew they were on the second floor, we exited through the custodian’s exit,” Williams said. Williams’ classroom made it out safely, but some drama club students with fake blood stains were strewn across the hallway on the second floor where one of the “gunmen” took a hostage. Officer Robin Short talks to drama students who volunteered to be in the shooter scenario. The active shooting exercise that took months to plan was over in less than an hour. But those participating learned how time seemed to move agonizingly slowly as they waited to be rescued. After it was over, one of the teachers asked how long the drill had lasted – it seemed like three hours. It was more like 45 minutes. “I know it felt like a long time,” Bowling Green Police Officer Robin Short said to district’s entire staff who participated in the exercise held just as winter break was to begin. The school faculty and staff were not the only ones tested on Friday. This was also a drill for Bowling Green police and fire divisions, who were not…


Sexual assault reported on BGSU campus

Bowling Green State University has received a new report of a sexual assault. A student reported that she was forced to perform oral sex in Kohl Hall in September by a male suspect who is known to the student. In announcing the incident the BGSU police stated: “University shares this information so that members of the community can take appropriate precautions. Campus notifications are made in compliance with the provisions of the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1998. Certain details in this alert are omitted to protect the privacy of the reporting party. “ For more information on sexual assault prevention and community resources visit BGSU Cares.


BG plant was also targeted for pipe bomb, according to U.S. District Court

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The Toledo woman arrested for planning a terrorist attack at a Toledo bar was reportedly also plotting an attack at a Bowling Green manufacturing plant. Elizabeth Lecron, 23, was arrested Monday and charged in federal court after she purchased black powder and screws that she believed were going to be used to make a bomb as part of a terrorist attack. She was charged with one count of transportation of explosives and explosive material for the purposes of harming others and property. While much of the initial publicity focused on her alleged plans to use a pipe bomb in an unidentified Toledo bar, the arrest warrant from the U.S. District Court revealed that Lecron also planned some type of an attack at her workplace in Bowling Green. The warrant stated that Lecron worked the second shift at an automotive parts manufacturing plant in Bowling Green. Bowling Green Police Lt. Dan Mancuso said this morning that BGPD detectives were contacted last week by the FBI about the upcoming press conference that was held Monday. However, the police division was not notified about the possible threat of a bomb attack. “We weren’t actually consulted,” Mancuso said. FBI spokesperson Vicki Anderson said this morning that she could not be more specific about the Bowling Green location mentioned in the arrest warrant. “In our documents we didn’t reveal where she worked,” Anderson said. Anderson explained that oftentimes local law enforcement officials are not contacted, since that’s when information leaks occur. She also said that undercover FBI agents were working closely with Lecron and were aware of the progress of her plans. “We did not feel the public was in danger,” Anderson said. When Lecron actually purchased bomb-making items, she was arrested. “Once she bought the items, that’s when we needed to move,” Anderson said. The arrest of Lecron made national news on Monday. “This defendant bought black powder and hundreds of screws that she expected would be used to make a bomb,” said Justin E. Herdman, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. “Through her…