Police: Woman took on one-man crime ring and won

Donald Fugate has been arrested 22 times

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- Middletown police say a quick-thinking woman thwarted a thief Monday that officers call a "one-man crime ring."

When Taini Ghamandi was arriving at her home at the Robin Springs Apartments on Mt Vernon Street, she said she spotted a man under her vehicle.

"As soon as I pulled in, I could see (him),” Ghamandi said. “And I'm like, ‘What is he doing? What is going on?’”

Police say the man, later identified as Donald Fugate, was trying to steal her catalytic converter using a battery-operated reciprocating saw.

Ghamandi said she and her boyfriend didn’t hesitate to confront Fugate.

But this wasn’t just anybody under her Pontiac Aztec. Police say Fugate already had 21 arrests under his belt.

When she approached him, Ghamandi said Fugate denied any wrongdoing and attempted to drive away in his van.

"(My boyfriend) opens the door and tries to pull (Fugate) out and he grabs the saw and kind of tries to cut him with it,” she said.

Ghamandi said Fugate then pointed at her and threatened to cut her with his saw.

"He was trying to like… push and accelerate the car out the way," she said. "He was telling me… I have no right to tell him anything because someone sent him up here to do a job. And I said, ‘That is my vehicle. You're not touching my car. I paid for the car.’"

Authorities said Fugate managed to drive off, but not before Ghamandi wrote down his license plate.

Middletown Police Lt. Scott Reeve said this isn’t the first time his office has dealt with Fugate.

"He's very bold about it, doing it in the middle of the day in parking lots where there’s a high probability that he will be seen," Reeve said.

Reeve said by boxing Fugate in and getting his license plate, Ghamandi probably saved a lot of people a $900 repair job to get a new catalytic converter.

"I'm kind of glad I caught up with him,” Ghamandi said. “He wasn't that fast that day, huh?"

Police arrested Fugate for the 22nd time at his home Tuesday night and charged him with robbery.

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