WILMINGTON — Suspects in recent robberies of two local service stations were apprehended and arrested after a chase that began with an alert Clinton County Sheriff’s deputy.
At approximately 3:55 a.m. on Wednesday (July 10), the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call advising of an armed robbery that had just occurred at the Shell station on U.S. 68 North near Interstate 71, according to a news release from the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office.
The caller advised that two male suspects, one of which was brandishing a shotgun, had come into the store and stolen money and miscellaneous items. The caller was unable to provide a vehicle description or direction of travel.
“Sheriff’s Office Road Patrol units were dispatched to the area to investigate. During the response it was determined that the characteristics of this robbery were similar to those of a robbery that occurred on June 28 at the Shell Station located on SR 73 near Interstate 71. During the June 28 incident, it was reported that a tan or silver minivan was seen leaving the area and possibly went south on Interstate 71,” the CCSO stated.
“Deputy Caleb Brown, who was on routine patrol in the area of SR 73, positioned himself on Interstate 71 in the median shortly after the robbery occurred and observed a tan minivan traveling South on Interstate 71. Deputy Brown began to follow the vehicle, until backup unit Sgt. Garrett Benton was in position to assist with a traffic stop. Upon activating their top lights, the suspect vehicle failed to stop and began to flee the officers continuing South on Interstate 71 into Warren County.
“Officers continued to pursue the van southbound at speeds reaching 90 mph. Near mile post 35, Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers joined the pursuit as it continued southbound on I-71. Numerous times the van avoided stop sticks put in place by OSHP and Mason Police Department. Near mile post 28, stop sticks were successfully deployed by the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The van had received a left front flat tire and was running on the rim.”
The pursuit continued southbound on I-71 at speeds of 55-60 mph. Just south of Exit 25, the Ohio State Highway Patrol attempted to box the vehicle in and the vehicle cut through the center median and headed northbound on I-71.
“The vehicle continued at a speed of 40-45 mph until it reached Exit 25, when it came to a stop on the right shoulder. The passenger, later identified as Levi Cutcher, exited the passenger side of the vehicle and attempted to run. Two OSHP units and Deputy Brown gave chase to Cutcher, capturing him just east of the vehicle. Additional units made contact with the driver, identified as James Clifton, and took him into custody without incident.
“A black shotgun matching the description provided in both robberies was observed inside the vehicle. The vehicle was secured and returned to the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office impound garage until a search warrant can be obtained for a thorough search of the vehicle. Detectives from the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office are following up on additional information regarding these two suspects.”
James Clifton, 61, of Cincinnati is being held on charges of failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer and aggravated robbery with a bond of $100,000. Clifton also has a holder from the Adult Parole Authority.
Levi Cutcher, 56, of Cincinnati is being held on a charge of aggravated robbery with a bond of $50,000. Cutcher has a holder from the Adult Parole Authority as well.
Both are being held in the Clinton County Adult Detention Center awaiting arraignment in the Clinton County Municipal Court.