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Man facing multiple charges after attempted Tesla theft, standoff with police in OTR

Standoff closed Liberty Street for hours
OTR police presence liberty street car theft
Posted at 11:26 PM, Apr 16, 2022

CINCINNATI — A man appeared in court Monday morning after Cincinnati police said he attempted to steal a Tesla at the intersection of Liberty and Sycamore streets on April 16, prompting an hours-long standoff.

Cincinnati police believe 26-year-old Ashawn Britten was "extremely lucky" and found the Tesla, located outside Nicola's restaurant on Sycamore, unlocked.

Tony Stumpo, a valet driver at Nicola's, said he spotted Britten trying to steal the Tesla and called 911. John Ward, who said he owns the Tesla, was inside the restaurant for a birthday dinner.

Ward said the restaurant manager came to him and said someone was attempting to steal his car. Cincinnati police said Britten was able to change the radio, but nothing else because the car asked for a PIN. CPD have now confirmed that the car was on at the time of the attempted theft, but it never moved — it stayed parked where it was.

Police blocked roads while working incident

Britten and CPD had a 90-minute standoff that prompted Liberty Street to be shut down. The standoff led police to deploy rubber bullets and tear gas to remove Britten from the car and Ward said his vehicle is dented from the bullets. The surrounding streets were reopened after the incident.

"It's a car," said Ward. "I was just glad no one got hurt. Glad he didn't get hurt. Glad no one else got hurt on the street. It's a car. You can replace a car. Can't replace a human life."

Britten is facing several charges including, theft, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, criminal mischief and obstructing official business. He is being held on a more than $20,000 bond.