SAUQUOIT — A Rome man hid in the woods off Paris Hill Road for at least six hours Thursday evening after law enforcers said he was caught red-handed in a burglary.
Both 20-year-old Ronald R. Ward and his female companion are facing charges, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities said Ward, of Ochab Drive, and companion Samantha M. Cerini, 25, of Center Road, Frankfort, were burglarizing houses in broad daylight in the Paris Hill Road area, and settled on one residence near Oneida Street at about 2 p.m. Authorities said Cerini waited in the vehicle in the driveway while Ward went inside.
"They just happened to pick that house," explained Sheriff’s Lt. James McCarthy.
While Ward was inside, authorities said the homeowner returned and pulled into the driveway behind Cerini, boxing her in.
"He didn’t know why they were there, then he went into the house and found" Ward in a bedroom, McCarthy said. The homeowner and Ward scuffled briefly in the residence before Ward was chased outside. "Ward got away from him and ran into the woods. We called for a dog and set up a perimeter in the area," McCarthy said.
Cerini was taken into custody when law enforcers arrived, while others set up a perimeter and tried to track Ward through the woods. McCarthy said Ward continued to give the officers the slip, though there were fleeting glances of him, so they knew he was still out there.
However, the officers eventually were able to learn Ward’s identity and decided to call off the search to get him another day.
"We left because we pretty much figured out who he was," McCarthy said. "He wasn’t a danger. We knew he was not armed, he didn’t pose a danger to the public."
The Sheriff’s Office also spread Ward’s description through the local media and notified residents in the area using the NY-Alert program, similar to Reverse 9-1-1. One such resident heard the description and found Ward walking along Butler Road at about 9 p.m., McCarthy said. The alert citizen didn’t know Ward personally, but he was able to detain Ward at the nearby Reilly’s Dairy.
"I don’t know how that transpired, but he held him until deputies arrived," McCarthy stated.
Both Ward and Cerini have been charged with one count each of felony second-degree burglary, deputies said. They were both arraigned and sent to county jail in lieu of $25,000 cash bail or bond. They are both scheduled to reappear in court.