Most Wanted page, reader tips help police nab 500 suspects

9/13/2012
BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Tremayne Griffin
Tremayne Griffin

Although members of the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force can recall most of the 500 people arrested from The Blade's Most Wanted page — and many of the gritty details — a few names stand out.

One of them, Tremayne Griffin, is a man responsible for shooting four people in two incidents; authorities have described Griffin as one of the most dangerous people in the city. Griffin is currently serving nearly 22 years in prison.

Officials spent months looking for Quintin Helm, who is accused of shooting to death Tyrone Patterson, who was killed last November. In May, someone who recognized Helm from the Most Wanted page, published in The Blade every Tuesday, saw the suspect walking across the Martin Luther King, Jr., bridge and alerted the authorities.

"He ran right into us," said U.S. Deputy Marshal Rodney Hartzell, who heads the marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force.

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Quintin A. Helm
Quintin A. Helm

Helm is awaiting an Oct. 9 trial in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Gerald Banks didn't avoid the marshals for long, and, in fact, turned himself in to authorities once the pressure was on. Banks is now serving a life sentence for shooting and killing Marquan McCuin in July, 2011.

All three men, at some point, were featured on the U.S. Marshals Most Wanted page. This week, the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task force made its 500th arrest of people who have been featured on the list, said Deputy Hartzell.

"We never expected this," he said. "We knew it would work, but we never expected this to work this well."

Of the people who have been arrested, 11 were picked up on murder warrants, 246 for assault, 143 for robbery, and 94 for burglary, according to data provided by the U.S. Marshals.

Gerald Banks
Gerald Banks

Unlucky No. 500 was Kevin Barnhill, a Toledo man charged by police with four robberies and a felonious assault. He was arrested on Tuesday at a North Toledo apartment by the task force, officials said.

Barnhill, arraigned Wednesday in Toledo Municipal Court, was ordered to be held in lieu of $500,000 bond — $100,000 for each charge.

The task force, which was created in 2005, focuses on wanted persons with felony warrants, but will go after anyone wanted by law enforcement, Deputy Hartzell said.

"We're committed to cleaning up Toledo," said John Robinson Block, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Blade. "We feel very good that The Blade is able to help with this."

The partnership between the marshals and The Blade started in September, 2010.

Deputy Hartzell said the bulk of the arrests — about 70 percent — are for Toledo warrants; 20 percent are from the Lucas County Sheriff's Office, and the rest from other agencies across the region.

"No other Toledo media could begin to make this happen," Mr. Block said.

People have been arrested as they walk down the street, as they shower, some have even been caught in compromising positions. A few have been caught more than once.

Kevin Barnhill
Kevin Barnhill

Jason Craighead was wanted by Toledo police on five felonious assault warrants, issued in December, 2010. It was months before the marshals, based on a tip, tracked Craighead to Grand Rapids, Mich.

Officials in Toledo alerted law enforcement in Grand Rapids, who then arrested Craighead. Because the suspect had "petty" warrants out of Detroit, Grand Rapids officials turned him over to Detroit police, who then let Craighead go on bond.

"We had to start all over again," Deputy Hartzell said. Within a few weeks, Craighead was spotted again in Detroit at a family member's house, where he was arrested.

Deputy Hartzell attributed the success of the page to people who call in tips and leads and partnerships with other law enforcement.

"It wouldn't work without the Toledo Police Department, the Lucas County Sheriff's Office, and the outlying agencies who assist the task force," Deputy Hartzell said.

Joseph H. Zerbey IV, president and general manager of The Blade, said he is already looking forward to the 1,000th arrest.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at: tdungjen@theblade.com or 419-724-6064.