DELHI TWP., Ohio – A 911 call about a masked man carrying a rifle case led to a scary situation and a lockdown at Delshire Elementary School and a nearby day care center, police said.
It ended when Delhi police nabbed Roger Hollan, 27, with a fully-loaded assault rifle at the sprawling apartment complex adjacent to the school, police said.
“We were lucky he didn’t intend to open fire on the school or police officers,” Lt. Joe Macaluso said. "He never took (the rifle) out of the case."
As it turned out, Hollan wasn’t planning a massacre. He was stealing from the Delshire Apartments on Glenhaven Road, Macaluso said.
Hollan, a maintenance man who used to do contract work at the apartments, had lifted a master key and was using it to enter apartments and make off with valuables, Macaluso said.
Police believe Hollan burglarized “8 to 10” apartments before he got caught last week, Macaluso said. The stolen items included handguns, jewelry, laptops and the rifle, he said.
Hollan was already a “person of interest” in the case before a resident saw a man leave a neighbor’s apartment on Jan. 8 and called police, Macaluso said.
The burglaries started in December and, after a few, police suspected the burglar had a key.
In one incident, a resident was home at the time and confronted a man in his apartment.
“When he was confronted, the man said, ‘Maintenance,’ “ Macaluso said. “The resident said he hadn’t called maintenance, and the man said, ‘Sorry, wrong apartment,’ and left.”
That’s when the apartment manager discovered a master key was missing, Macaluso said. The manager gave police a list of people who had access to the key. While the manager started replacing the locks on the 220 apartments in the complex, police started keeping an eye out for Hollan, Macaluso said.
When the 911 call came in, Delhi police reacted quickly and in force, Macaluso said
“I think we sent five or six cars and two unmarked detective cars. That’s the advantage of a small force,” he said. “A larger force gets a 911 call about a man carrying a rifle case and maybe the dispatcher thinks, well, it's a resident who owns the gun. In this case, all of our officers knew we had a rash of burglaries in the area and we were prepared.”
When Hollan saw police, he ran into the woods, Macaluso said. Police sent in a canine to flush him out.
Hollan then ran into an apartment building. That worried police that Hollan might use the key and the rifle to take hostages in the building, Macaluso said.
But one of the officers outside saw a figure pass by a window in a vacant apartment, and once they knew where he was, they were able to arrest Hollan without incident.
So far, Hollan has only been charged in the Jan. 8 break-in, Macaluso said. Hollan is charged with burglary, breaking and entering, receiving a stolen firearm, possession of criminal tools and drug possession, he said.
“He had some pills without a prescription that probably came from one of the apartments,” Macaluso said.
Hollan is in the Hamilton County Justice Center. His next court appearance is Jan. 21.
“A lot of credit goes to the witness who called 911,” Macaluso said. “People are our eyes and ears out there. I can’t say it enough: If you see something suspicious, call 911.”
The apartment manager said all of the locks in the complex have been replaced, but one resident told WCPO he was never notified about the break-ins.
"I'm concerned about why we weren't notified what was going on ... so we could be on the lookout," he said.