Saturday, August 22, 2009

"This would be great opportunity for citizens to step up"

Cops: Ice cream truck was robbery target
By Sharon Coolidge
Re-printed from a August 11, 2009 article in the Cincinnati Enquirer

Ice Cream Truck Robbery Suspect Rayshawn Smith
Ice Cream Truck Robbery Suspect Rayshawn Smith

Two teenagers weren’t looking for a creamsicle when they flagged down a Captain Tom’s Ice Cream truck that was cruising through Bond Hill on Monday evening.

They wanted cash, according to Cincinnati police.

The truck’s driver, Norma Durham, foiled that plan by driving off and Cincinnati City Councilman Cecil Thomas, a retired Cincinnati police officer who was nearby, tracked down the suspects.

Arrested were Rayshawn Smith, 19, of Paddock Hills, and a 16-year-old Bond Hill boy, both on charges of aggravated robbery.

Cincinnati City Councilman Cecil Thomas (D)
Retired police officer Cincinnati City Councilman Cecil Thomas (D) stopped an armed robbery in Bond Hill.

“All she was doing was just trying to sell ice cream, and these knuckleheads decided to take what she had,” Thomas said.

Thomas was in his car at an Anita Place house when he saw the robbery attempt in his rear-view mirror, he said. As Durham drove down the street, the teen suspects flagged her down. When she stopped, the teens demanded money at gunpoint. The 16-year-old pulled the trigger several times, but nothing happened, Durham told police.

Durham pressed her foot to the gas, escaping. The boys ran off with nothing.

That riled up the former cop, who didn’t know the details of the robbery, just that something was amiss.

As the boys ran, Thomas stealthily followed the suspects first in his car, then on foot, calling the department’s non-emergency line to alert officers to what was going on. They were already on their way after getting a call from Durham.

Thomas kept following the teens, calling police back once more to say the suspects ended up on a Dalewood Place porch.

After the arrests, officers discovered the gun was a starter pistol, a report said.

At a court hearing Tuesday morning Smith’s lawyer, Gary Goldman, denied his client was involved in the robbery, saying his client was a witness, not a participant. Hamilton County Municipal Judge Brad Greenberg set bond for Smith at $100,000.

The 16-year-old’s case is in Hamilton County Juvenile Court. Prosecutors are seeking to move him adult court.

Thomas sees the help he offered as what all citizens should do, especially as the city grapples over the possible layoff of more than 100 officers.

“This would be great opportunity for citizens to step up and be more observant … and help out when possible,” Thomas said.

UPDATE 10/03/2009: Rayshawn Smith, was since released from Hamilton County Jail while awaiting his trial for the ice cream truck Robbery, took part in a 15 person riot at P.A.C.E. Highschool, at the 4700 block of Reading Road, with four other teenagers. The men went to the school armed with handguns with the intention of fighting students at the alternative school.

P.A.C.E. is a school for kids who have had academic issues or behavioral problems stopping them from getting an education. Rayshawn Smith and three others now face additional charges of rioting and trespassing his bond for Aggravated Rioting (F-5) is set at $10,000 cash.

WCPO Channel 9, Men Arrested At Local High School