Police: Ohio River ended teens’ suspected crime spree

Missing posters provided by the Allegheny County Police in Pennsylvania. (Photo: ABC News)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The wide Ohio River is what ended the flight of a teenage couple authorities believe engaged in a crime spree that crossed into three states.

A report released Sunday by the West Virginia State Police said the 16-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl jumped into the river in Tyler County on Saturday trying to flee from authorities. Police said the teens realized they couldn’t swim all the way across, so turned back and were captured.

That ended a six-day ordeal that authorities say involved at least two stolen vehicles, the theft of ammunition from an Ohio Wal-Mart, an armed robbery and injuries to a Pennsylvania police officer.

The teens are from the northwest Ohio communities of Upper Sandusky and Sycamore and were reported missing Monday, when a search for them began. They were being held without bond Sunday in a juvenile detention facility in Wheeling, West Virginia, on charges of possession of stolen property and fleeing in a vehicle from police resulting in property damage.

The Associated Press is not naming them because of their ages.

The two also may face separate charges in Ohio and Pennsylvania, which continue to investigate along with West Virginia.

Police Officer Jason Shallenberger in Elizabeth Township, Pennsylvania, told WTAE-TV he responded to a robbery call last week at a mini-mart and when he spotted the suspects and tried to grab the truck door handle, the driver hit the gas.

Shallenberger said he held onto the bed rail to avoid being pulled under the truck tires, and was dragged onto Route 48 before he could let go. He was left with cuts, road rash, a hole in his boots and a shredded bulletproof vest, he said.

The West Virginia State Police report said New Martinsville police were notified of a stolen 2014 GMC Denali heading south on West Virginia Route 2. They caught up with the vehicle in Paden City and made an unsuccessful attempt to get the vehicle to stop.

The report said both police departments were led on a 12-mile chase into the town of Sistersville, where the vehicle crashed into a parked car and the teenagers fled on foot. The girl was armed with a handgun, police said.

The teens ran the quarter mile to the Ohio River and jumped in, before realizing how wide it was and turned back.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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