SIDNEY — An arrest was made by Shelby County deputies after the suspect fled on foot Thursday, Oct. 3, around 8:30 a.m.
According to Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart, deputies were in the area of North Street in Sidney when they observed a male carrying a bicycle on the bank of the Great Miami River. As deputies approached the man and others under the bridge, the man — later identified as Raymond Shoecraft, of Trotwood, Ohio — fled on foot. He was ordered to stop but refused to comply with deputies’ orders.
Others present at the makeshift camp stated they were unfamiliar with Shoecraft, said he wasn’t from the area, and went by the nickname of “Ray-Ray.” Deputies searched the vicinity but couldn’t immediately locate him.
A short time later Shoecraft was observed the along the west riverbank and he again fled. Additional deputies and detectives, Sidney Police and Park Ranger responded to assist.
Sheriff’s K-9 “Bandit” was deployed and tracked the suspect through the thicket southbound towards Court Street. A few moments later Bandit located the suspect lying face down in the tall brush, north of the Court Street Bridge, along the river.
Shoecraft, age 38, of Trotwood, Ohio, was taken into custody for a felony warrant from the Ohio Parole Authority. Shoecraft also has had previous weapons charges against him. He is incarcerated in the Shelby County Jail without bond.
“The Sheriff’s Office has received complaints of homeless persons and drug activity under the bridges over the Great Miami River,” said Lenhart.
Sidney Police Chief Will Balling said officers walked the area under the bridge Thursday.
“Capt. Mike Rosengarten and Park Ranger Justin Aselage were out today (Thursday) checking all of the park areas along the river today for possible homeless individuals,” said Balling. “They checked all the areas that are city property and did not observe any signs of anyone camping out in those areas. While they were searching the areas they assisted the Sheriff’s Office with the pursuit of an individual with a warrant that was located under the Court Street Bridge.”
Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst said he has also heard the rumors about the homeless living under the bridges.
“I first heard the news from a concerned citizen the afternoon of Sept. 23, and passed it along to the city manager,” said Barhorst. “In less than an hour, Mark (Cundiff, city manager) referred the matter to the police department and parks and recreation for investigation.”