Twenty-one law enforcement agencies from 11 counties worked together for over a year to break up a theft ring that has been active in Clark, Miami and several surrounding counties.

Billy Barrett, Markus Barrett, Jerry Bush, Jesse Rieder, Ricky Large, Ricky Terry and Kenneth Melton have all been indicted on numerous charges, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, burglary, breaking and entering, safe cracking, vandalism, theft and receiving stolen property.


The group has been nicknamed the Band of Thieves 2.

The seven suspects have been charged with thefts in Darke, Preble, Shelby, Miami, Montgomery, Clark, Madison, Delaware, Franklin and Pickaway counties.

Six of the defendants are related, either brothers or cousins. Melton is a friend of the family.

The investigation started in October, 2014 with a series of burglaries and thefts in Darke and Miami counties. "One of my detectives came to me and mentioned how this was very familiar and the MO's matched up," said Darke County Sheriff Toby Spencer at a press conference Friday afternoon. "I told him to run with it and see where it goes."

The detective contacted Miami county, and the investigation grew from there. "We were finding out that it was a problem in many other areas," said Spencer. "We soon learned that it was pretty widespread."

Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly said that his investigation began in January with a theft on Quick Rd.

Spencer said that there could be more suspects, and that the investigation is still ongoing.


"Warrants were executed at 4 a.m. yesterday morning, and it was the fastest arrest I've seen," said Kelly. The suspects were in custody within three minutes.
"We wanted to catch them when they were sleeping," said Wilson. "And they were."

Spencer estimated that the amount stolen could range from thousands to millions. The damage caused during the thefts could amount to even more.

Clark County Prosecutor D. Andrew Wilson will be prosecuting the suspects. "We're prosecuting them in Clark County because it's centrally located to the area affected and because of the large number of offenses committed in Clark County," said Wilson.

Spencer stated that the defendants appear to be career criminals. "It's just their nature," he said. He did not believe that the thefts were to support drug habits. The thefts were from businesses and from outbuildings. Only one theft was from an attached garage to a residence.  Spencer said that most of the thefts involved vehicles, tools and ATM machines. "Anything that wasn't fastened down, they were going after it," he said.

All of the suspects not currently incarcerated were arraigned Friday morning at Clark County Common Pleas Court.

Billy Barrett is facing 28 counts with a maximum prison sentence of 43 1/2 years. He is currently incarcerated at the Noble Correctional Institution for parole violation.

Markus Barrett is facing 27 counts with a maximum prison sentence of 29 years. His bond was set at $100,000.

Jerry Bush was charged with 16 counts and has a maximum sentence of 20 1/2 years. Bond was set at $100,000.

Ricky Large faces 29 counts with a maximum sentence of 36 years. He is currently incarcerated in Madison County.

Kenneth Melton faces two counts witha maximum sentence of 12 1/2 years. Bond was set at $25,000.

Jesse Rieder faces 6 counts, maximum sentence of 17 years. His bond was set at $100,000.

Ricky Terry was charged with 22 counts, with a maximum prison sentence of 32 1/2 years. He is currently incarcerated in Franklin County.

Kelly identified 8 thefts attributed to the defendants, including the theft of a pickup truck on S. Dayton-Lakeview Rd. that was driven through the windows of Big Mike's Gas & Go in Brandt so that they could steal the ATM machine.