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The Tri-State's 9 craziest crimes of 2016

Clowns, cheeseburgers and feces, oh my
Posted at 7:20 AM, Dec 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-21 07:42:21-05

CINCINNATI -- Don't look now, but there's a creepy clown sneaking up behind you.

False reports of creepy clowns turned into a crime wave this year and made our list of the nine craziest crimes of 2016 in the Tri-State.

See what else made the list. It might make you laugh, wince or throw up.

9. Hair-raisingest crime of the year

A bald man stealing Rogaine from stores throughout the Tri-State last winter had investigators pulling their hair out trying to stop him.

 

"We're scratching our heads at this, no pun intended, trying to figure out what it is about the Rogaine," Mount Healthy Det. Chris Jones said.

The thief hit a CVS and Walgreens stores in Florence, Mount Healthy, North College Hill, West Chester and Mason. He got away with thousands of dollars worth of Rogaine and Prevegen hair growth supplement.

Warren County deputies finally combed through the suspects and arrested Andres W. Arias, 36, of Boca Raton, Florida. Arias admitted working with an interstate criminal network to steal about $22,000 worth of hair and weight-loss products -- mostly from the Tri-State, according to Warren County Prosecutor David P. Fornshell.

Arias followed an elaborate plan: He flew here, rented vehicles and drove to targeted stores, then shipped the loot to associates in New Jersey, who deposited money into his bank account.

Arias repaid $22,000 and was sentenced to two years in prison.

8. Minivan mom leads police on wild chase

A 33-year-old mom led police on a dangerous chase in her minivan with her toddler in the passenger seat, police said in May. Erica Barreiro-Rapp was driving so recklessly -- jumping curbs and concrete medians, running red lights at busy intersections – that Springdale police feared she would kill someone, so they backed off and let her go, police said.

WATCH cruiser cam video here:

 

Four weeks later, Colerain police caught her shoplifting at Burlington Coat Factory, they said.

The chase began after Barreiro-Rapp appeared at Springdale Mayors Court to answer to petty theft charges, police said. When she was ready to leave, the court officer stopped her and her child and said she would have to answer felony charges in Kentucky for heroin possession, tampering with evidence and carrying a concealed weapon.

She said she would call someone to pick up her child, but instead she ran to the parking lot, got in her minivan and took off, police said.

Barreiro-Rapp pleaded guilty to failure to comply with a police officer and drug possession. She's serving a three-year sentence at the Ohio Reformatory for Women.

7. Evel Knievel he's not

Walmart shoppers in Alexandria, Kentucky, got a surprise when a naked man drove a miniature dirt bike around the store -- well, naked except for underpants, boots, a Superman cape and a helmet.

 

That was Justin Bell, 27, police said. And his brother, Howard Bell, 44, was there, too. The brothers make money by posting prank videos to YouTube, police said.

After someone alerted police about the dirt bike video on YouTube, they arrested the brothers on the charge of first-degree wanton endangerment.

Justin Bell -- described in the video caption as "Dumb Dumb" -- drove around the store for two minutes, the police report states.

"There are all these side aisles right through here," Sgt. Natalie Selby told WCPO. "If anybody would’ve walked through there or pushed a stroller or whatever, I mean, he could’ve hit 'em."

No one was reported hit or hurt.

6. Fight over cereal ended in bomb threat

A beating over a cup of cereal escalated into a standoff over a bomb threat, Goshen Township police said. In November, officers were called to a home on Manila Road near Moler Road for a fight. Ely Joseph Arnold, 35, and a friend beat up his girlfriend's son over the cereal, the son told officers at the scene.

 

One person claimed there was a meth lab in the home, so officers called the Clermont County Drug Task Force. Arnold gave police a fake name, police said, but a drug task force member recognized him. He has served time for assault and robbery, according to court records,

Arnold also told police he had a bomb and threatened to kill himself and them, the police said. They backed out of the home and called the Clermont County Special Response Team.

After about an hour, Arnold surrendered and was taken to the jail. He was charged with making terroristic threats and possession of drug abuse instruments.

5. Creepy clowns and the women who loved them

Creepy clown scares and reported attacks led to isolated panic, school closings and at least one bad decision by an 18-year-old who was late for work. Alexsandra Conley, of Hamilton, Ohio, made up a story that she was attacked by a clown with a knife because she was late for her shift at McDonald’s, according to police.

Conley called police at about 6 a.m., saying a clown jumped over a fence, waved a knife at her and cut her thumb, police said. Conley was charged with one count of making false alarms.

Reading schools canceled a day's classes after a woman reported being attacked by a clown and seven students from three schools were arrested on charges of making clown-related threats.

Another woman said a man dressed in a striped outfit, a red wig and a white clown mask grabbed her around the throat as she sat smoking on her porch at about 4 a.m. The woman told police the clown told her: "I should just kill you now" and "students and teachers (will) wish they were never born at the junior and senior high school today."

As creepy clown sightings and threats spread across the country, a threat caused about half of Gallatin County students to stay home from school. There was also a report of a clown chasing a woman from her car to her apartment door.

4. Cain kills Abel over cheeseburger

An argument over a cheeseburger led a Cincinnati native to shoot and kill his brother, according to police in Florida, where the two men were living. But their older brother, who still lives in Cincinnati, says it wasn't about a burger.

Police in St. Cloud, Florida, said Nick Middendorf, 28, and Ben Middendorf, 25, came home from drinking on Cinco de Mayo. As the two argued, Benjamin got a 9 mm handgun from another room and shot his brother once in the chest, police said.

The pair's mother called 911 and screamed, "My son just shot my son!” Ben is also overheard screaming, “We were in a fight and I just grabbed a gun and I shot him!”

The Middendorf brothers grew up in Hartwell and attended Roger Bacon High School in St. Bernard.

Their older brother, Tim, who lives in Sayler Park, said the media and police released "inaccurate information."

Tim said the relationship between his two brothers was one of "high tension" because "Nick was paying the bills and Ben was not working." Tim said Nick was "kind of tough on Ben" but also said he was "kind hearted."

Nick had recently taken someone in who was "down on his luck," Tim said. Tension rose while Nick was patient with the new roommate, who had no money, but continued to "ride Ben" about finding a job.

Ben has been charged with premeditated first-degree murder.

3. Bengals/Reds 'beard guy' arrested on drug trafficking charges

You've probably seen Garey Faulkner's iconic beard jazzed up for a Bengals or Reds game. But his beard wasn't orange or red in his mug shot taken at the Warren County jail after being charged with trafficking drugs and drug possession.

Faulkner bought five pounds of marijuana from an undercover cop for $2,000 per pound, according to the Warren County Drug Task Force. The sale took place at Schappacher Park in Deerfield Township.

"He believed this marijuana was coming in from out of state," Maj. Steve Arrasmith said. "There is always a market for those looking for higher-end marijuana."

After getting out of jail on $10,000 bond, Faulkner posted on Facebook:

Faulkner at Bengals game

His post got more than 800 likes and loves, and scores of people left messages of support on his page.

Faulkner went back to his Bengals orange beard and public persona and even posed for a WCPO.com photographer before the Steelers-Bengals game on Dec. 18.

Faulkner is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Jan. 18.

2. Attacker tells victim 'I'm home' after breaking into house

Remember the scene from "The Shining" when Jack Nicholson swings an ax through a locked door to get at his wife? "Wendy, I'm home," he says upon breaking through.

In November, an even more terrorizing, real-life scene played out at Kim McCloud's home when an intruder with his head completely tattooed kicked in her door at 3 a.m. and attacked her, police said.

"He said, 'I'm home,' and then he started punching everybody," said McCloud.

McCloud said she had never seen her attacker until he broke in.

Manning

"All of a sudden I heard a kick like 'boom, boom, boom' and all of a sudden he was standing in my face and just punched me dead in my face," McCloud said. He also bit and kicked her, she said.

The attacker was 30-year-old Steven Tyler Manning, police said. It took several police Taser shots to subdue him, McCloud said. One officer suffered a gash on his forehead that required 12 stitches.

Manning faces charges of aggravated burglary, assaulting an officer and resisting arrest. He remains in jail under $550,000 bond.

1. And the grossest crime of the year goes to...

Colin Murphy, who stripped in Hyde Park Kroger and defecated on the self-checkout, police said.

Murphy

Murphy smelled like an alcoholic beverage, had slurred speech and staggered, police said in complaints. He was charged with disorderly conduct and public indecency. Murphy pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 days of community control.

There might have been a tie for "most disgusting" if the man who claimed to urinate on children's clothes at the Eastgate Walmart and defecate in a display toilet at Lowe's had been charged with a crime in either case.

The man, identified on social media as Paul Tatum, posted a live video to Facebook that appeared to show him urinating in the aisle at the Walmart at 4370 Eastgate Square Drive.

Other Facebook users then reposted another video that appeared to show Tatum defecating in a display toilet at a Lowe’s. A representative from Lowe’s said there was an incident in March where an individual defecated in a display toilet at the Ridge Avenue store.