Jewelry heist suspects named

CALCUTTA — A collaborative effort between law enforcement agencies in 12 jurisdictions has resulted in St. Clair Township Police Department naming two suspects in the March 3, 2018 robbery at Kay Jewelers in the Summit Square Plaza.

According to Detective Greg Smith, two Dayton area people have been indicted along with several others allegedly involved in similar activities in other communities as far away as Lexington, Kentucky.

Charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, breaking and entering, possession of criminal tools, vandalism and theft is Kevin J. Ashley, 46, while his girlfriend, Michele G. Gue, 46, is charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and complicity to breaking and entering, complicity to possession of criminal tools, complicity to vandalism and complicity to theft.

Ashley is currently incarcerated at the Montgomery County Jail, while Gue has not yet been taken into custody, according to police.

The arrests came about, according to Smith and Detective Sgt. Scott Mick, after they received a call from a detective in another jurisdiction advising them they might want to take a look at Ashley for the crime because “that’s his M.O.”

Smith said, “We started doing some digging,” which led to conversations with a detective in the Troy Police Department, who was able to obtain Gue’s cell phone number as part of an investigation in that jurisdiction.

Smith contacted Gue’s parole officer, which led to securing a search warrant for her cell phones and found one had “pinged” off the Irish Ridge Road cell tower at the exact time of the break-in at Kay Jewelers.

The Irish Ridge Road tower is visible from Summit Square Plaza.

“She lives in the Dayton area. I knew I was headed in the right direction,” Smith said of the discovery that her phone, at least, had been nearby at the time of the break-in.

In questioning Gue, Smith said, they were told she sat outside in the car as Ashley robbed the jewelry store.

Officers also said they learned Ashley had just been released from Belmont Correctional Institution for breaking and entering, safe-cracking and drug-related offenses, with Smith alleging, “He hit our place on the way past.”

Video surveillance showed police the intruder had shimmied up a gas pipe on the outside of the building to reach the roof then cut through into the jewelry store, carrying a backpack and crowbar, shimmying down water pipes and ripping out wiring for the alarm system in the process.

He dropped into the store at about 1:47 a.m. then used a crowbar to break a lock bar and ran into the nearby woods, which officers said was obviously to wait and see if his actions had raised any alarm or alerted anyone.

At 2:22 a.m., he went back into the store and, for the next hour, piled nearly every single piece of jewelry in the store into a tarp that had been used to cover display cases from prying eyes outside the windows.

“He slung that tarp over his shoulder like Santa Claus,” Smith said, saying the person on the video went out the door and appears to have run toward McGuffey Road, where they believe he was picked up by Gue.

Smith said employees entered the store at 11:50 a.m. March 4 to open and discovered all the display cases pried open and destroyed as well as the large hole in the roof. They backed out of the store, called their manager and police.

Patrolmen James Briggs and Joshua Jackson were first on the scene and, realizing the extent of the incident, immediately contacted Smith and Mick.

Detectives declined to say the value of the jewelry stolen but said only a few pieces were recovered as part of an investigation in another jurisdiction.

Mick said it was helpful that their department was able to collaborate with the others, sending information back and forth electronically and by phone because, “Obviously, we can’t drive four hours away.”

Chief Brian McKenzie called the investigation a “classic example of information sharing and networking,” saying, “Our guys did an outstanding job of keeping up on it and following up on information provided by other jurisdictions. And, now, the suspects will be held accountable for what they did here and in numerous other communities.”

Smith offered his thanks to the other departments, saying, “I commend every one of them for their cooperation. Without them, we’d never have been able to do it.”

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