Toledo Police issue arrest warrant for man charged with attempting to steal assistance dog

7/30/2013
BY TANYA IRWIN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Arrica Okenka with her service dog Ingrid at her home Saturday, July 20, 2013 in Toledo, Ohio. Quincy T. Mathews is suspected of trying to steal her dog on a Tarta Bus.
Arrica Okenka with her service dog Ingrid at her home Saturday, July 20, 2013 in Toledo, Ohio. Quincy T. Mathews is suspected of trying to steal her dog on a Tarta Bus.

The Toledo Police Department has issued an arrest warrant for a Toledo man for attempting to steal a disabled woman's service dog as she rode on a bus earlier this month.

Surveillance video of the incident from an on-board camera has been posted to YouTube and has gone viral, with more than 14,000 viewings as of Tuesday afternoon.

Quincy T. Mathews Jr., 20, was identified by his juvenile parole officer. He is charged with robbery. 

The incident occurred in the afternoon on July 15 and the suspect got off the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority bus. Mr. Mathews stepped over the dog and then turned around and attempted to yank the leash from its owner Arrica Okenka, who has cerebral palsy, the warrant states.

The assistance dog, a 5-year-old golden retriever named Ingrid, is valued at $20,000, according to the warrant. 

Quincy T. Mathews Jr. has a robbery warrant for attempting to steal a disabled woman's service dog as she rode on a TARTA bus earlier this month. Anyone who has information on his whereabouts is asked to call Crimestopper at 419-255-1111.
Quincy T. Mathews Jr. has a robbery warrant for attempting to steal a disabled woman's service dog as she rode on a TARTA bus earlier this month. Anyone who has information on his whereabouts is asked to call Crimestopper at 419-255-1111.

Ms. Okenka has had the dog since 2009. The dog helps her with many routine tasks, including dressing and undressing, handling doors, and picking up dropped objects.

The middle finger on Ms. Okenka's left hand was cut by the leash, which twisted around it as she grabbed on to keep hold of the dog. 

"He yanked pretty hard on that leash," said Sgt. Joe Heffernan. "He probably wasn't expecting her to have the strength that she has in her hands and upper body from pushing a wheelchair around." 

Before attempting to snatch the dog, the man struck up a conversation with her about Ingrid, but that was nothing unusual, she said -- people often chat with her. But he also behaved oddly, stating that he, like Ms. Okenka, was headed to Westfield Franklin Park but then ringing the stop-request bell twice before the bus got close to the mall, the warrant states.

The first time, he grabbed a bus schedule and sat back down. The second time was when he reached for the leash after he stepped over Ingrid, who was relaxing on the bus floor, the report states.

Mr. Mathews is identified as 6 feet, 2 inches and weighing 295 pounds. His last known address was 2406 Rockspring Road, Toledo. He departed the bus at West Bancroft Street and Upton Avenue. 

Anyone who has information on his whereabouts is asked to call Crimestopper at 419-255-1111.

Contact Tanya Irwin at: tirwin@theblade.com or 419-724-6066 or @TanyaIrwin.