Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Police blame drugs for rash of thefts in North, West Toledo


top left: Sandra Wahl, her brother Rodney D. Wahl and Anthony K. Birdsell

have been charged in Maumee and Toledo, police say.

Bonnie Day's purse was in a shambles, but at least she got it back. It was missing money, credit cards, and a cell phone, but other personal items such as her driver's license and keys were inside.

"I'm really relieved," the 55-year-old East Toledo woman said yesterday, three days after her purse was stolen while she and a friend were having breakfast at a West Toledo restaurant.

Toledo police have charged a man with the robbery and three other purse snatches. They said he and two friends have been involved in a rash of similar thefts in North and West Toledo since Nov. 19 and have stolen more than a dozen vehicles.

Anthony K. Birdsell, 35, of 1519 Emerson Ave. was charged with Ms. Day's robbery in the 900 block of West Alexis Road and three others on Sylvania Avenue, Telegraph Road, and West Laskey Road.

Rodney D. Wahl, 31, of 2468 Caledonia St. was charged with three purse snatches, two on East Alexis and one at Alexis and Tremainsville Road.

Wahl's sister, Sandra, 37, of the Caledonia address, was charged with complicity to robbery in the purse snatch on Sylvania.

Maumee police said Rodney Wahl was the driver of a truck occupied by two other people that led authorities on a chase Monday from Maumee to Toledo.

The pursuit began after one of the three people fleeing officers tried to use a stolen credit card at Meijer, 1391 Conant St.

“They were really active. They were opportunists,” Toledo police Lt. Rick Reed said.

The motive for the purse snatches was to support drug habits. “Both [men] said they were really strung out on crack,” the lieutenant said.

He said police probably will clear more than a dozen cases, but charges may not be filed in all of them for various reasons, including victims being unable to identify the suspects.

Additional charges may be filed by Toledo and Maumee police.

The trio was arrested Tuesday. Toledo police Detective Danny Navarre was investigating a theft Monday of dozens of cartons of cigarettes from the Mayfield Market on Bennett Road when he recognized one of the suspects as the man police were looking for in connection with the purse snatches.

He found out where the man was staying on Caledonia and directed patrol officers to monitor the house. The men left Tuesday and failed to stop for police. Their van, which was stolen, crashed into a fire hydrant at Bakewell and Moravan streets. They ran and were arrested after a short foot chase. Ms. Wahl was arrested at her home. “They were just doing too many [crimes], and anybody that does too many crimes always gets caught,” the detective said.

Ms. Day said she is glad the alleged robbers were captured. “I really feel they violated the whole meaning of the [Christmas] season,” she said. “They have no conscience, no heart. I think they are crude, nasty people.”

Rodney Wahl and Birdsell were charged with the market theft and other offenses related to their arrests.

Rodney Wahl is being held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of $10,000 bond after his arraignment in Toledo Municipal Court. Birdsell is to be arraigned today. Ms. Wahl was released on her own recognizance after she was arraigned, but she'll be supervised until her next hearing. Police said her role in the crimes was minimal.

Birdsell was paroled from prison in September after convictions for felonious assault and burglary. Rodney Wahl was paroled last year after convictions for failure to comply and obstructing justice.

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