RAVENNA - Three East Palestine residents have been arrested and charged with burglarizing after Columbiana County law enforcement officers recognized their pictures posted by Portage County sheriff's officers.
Portage County Sheriff David Doak said Heather R. Boots, 34, Daniel J. Boots, 39 and Juston E. Buskirk, 35, are charged with one count each of burglary, all second-degree felonies. The trio is believed to be responsible for additional burglaries in Trumbull and Mahoning counties, as well as Columbiana and two Pennsylvania counties.
A fourth suspect was also found with the trio, as Paul Esenwein, 48, of Canfield was also arrested. Esenwein was transported to Trumbull County jail on warrants from Mahoning and Columbiana counties.
Doak said that deputies responded to a report of a daytime burglary at a residence in the 2300 block of Mahoning Road in Deerfield on Feb. 21. As part of the investigation, video surveillance "was obtained indicating that three subjects were involved in this burglary," he said.
Deputies shared the information with other law enforcement agencies, and Doak said that Columbiana County sheriff's detectives contacted Portage County with a possible identification on the suspects.
County Sheriff Ray Stone said Detective Jeff Haugh, East Palestine Sgt. Don Johnson and New Waterford Police Chief Dan Haueter were among those who worked on the case.
Further investigation revealed that Daniel Boots, Heather Boots and Buskirk were pawning alleged stolen items in Trumbull County. Once they were positively identified, warrants were obtained for their arrest.
Heather Boots, Daniel Boots and Buskirk are currently listed as homeless, with addresses on North Market Street in East Palestine noted as the Boots' last known address.
The trio are suspects in multiple burglaries in Portage, Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties, as well as burglaries in Lawrence and Mercer counties in Pennsylvania.
Niles officers cooperated with Portage County sheriff's detectives on Friday evening, as officers located Heather Boots and Daniel Boots at the Cottage Inn on state Route 422. According to the Niles police report, officers found the two staying in a room at the inn and arrested them without incident. Officers located Esenwein in a neighboring room at the inn.
According to Niles police, Buskirk was initially suspected of being with the trio, but officers learned he had turned himself in to Austintown police earlier in the day.
Officers found multiple items of value in the room, including a black rifle case with a bolt action rife and pistol, a camera, a jewelry box with jewelry and a box of compact discs.
Lt. Gregory Johnson of the Portage County sheriff's office said Tuesday that all three were arraigned on Monday and are being held in the Portage County jail on 10 percent of $250,000 bond. Johnson added that the three have a felony preliminary trial set for Friday, March 14 in Portage County.
Initial reports said the burglaries were committed to support their heroin addictions, and Johnson said that he is aware the trio has "drug dependency issues," however an official motive has not been determined.
Doak added that all three are cooperating with law enforcement, and the investigation is ongoing.
East Palestine Police Chief Kevin Dickey told the Journal his department is familiar with all three, and that most of their local offenses have included theft and breaking and entering.
Online Columbiana County Municipal Court records show Heather and Dan Boots were both charged by police with forcible entry in 2012, the most recent charge listed.
Buskirk's local county charges include minor traffic offenses, several counts of domestic violence, one charge of public indecency and burglary.
Hicks is a reporter for the Tribune Chronicle in Warren. The Kent Record-Courier and Lorain Morning Journal contributed to this story.