By GARY POPP
CLARK COUNTY —
The Clarksville man who trapped himself inside of Gold’s Jewelry, Coins and Currency on Spring Street in downtown Jeffersonville last week — as police say he attempted to burglarize the business — now faces charges in five burglaries.
Ralph Thomas Beaver, 43, of 212 S. Clark Blvd., is believed to have gone on a 15-day burglary spree in Jeffersonville and Clarksville during which he broke into JC Cigarette Outlet on two occasions, a Save-A-Step and Centerstone, a counseling service. The crimes were committed between Aug. 17 and Aug. 31.
In three of the four incidents, video surveillance provided images of a suspect, believed by police to be Beaver, which proved key in identifying him.
Jeffersonville Police Department Detective Todd Hollis said there were similarities between all of the burglaries. Those commonalties include the type of clothing worn by the suspect while the crimes were committed, the time of day the break-ins occurred and how the businesses were broken into, which involved breaking the store-front windows with a hammer. Hollis also said the man in the varied surveillance videos had the same physical build.
Beaver is facing three charges of burglary, all class C felonies, for the first three incidents that took place between Aug. 17 and Aug. 26. The three crimes were committed without an immediate arrest.
Beaver was arrested after he was found at the scene of a burglary Aug. 31 which led to charges of burglary, a class B felony, and resisting law enforcement, a class D felony.
When Beaver appeared at a hearing in Clark County Circuit Court No. 1 on Sept. 5, Judge Daniel Moore set a bond of $15,000 court-cash.
Nearly two weeks later Sept. 18, a $1,500 bond was paid, and Beaver was released from the Michael L. Becher Adult Correctional Complex.
Less than a month later, on the night of Oct. 15, Jeffersonville police found Beaver trapped inside Gold’s Jewelry after he is believed by police to have entered the business through an access point on roof. He was arrested and charged with burglary, a class C felony.
On the morning of Oct. 16, Beaver was booked back into the jail where he remains.
During a hearing in Moore’s court Oct. 22, the $5,000 bond was revoked, and several days later the $1,500 that had been provided for his Sept. 18 release was returned to the party that provided the bond.
After revoking the initial bond, Moore set Beaver’s bond at $75,000 cash-only, which must be paid in full for his release.
Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Jake Elder applauded Moore’s decision to set the stiffer bond.
“I was very happy with Judge Moore revoking his bond,” Elder said. “It is always great to see a judge hold people accountable who are a risk to the community.”
Elder iterated that Beaver has not been convicted and deserves fair prosecution.
“He is innocent until proven guilty,” Elder said of Beaver. “But, with five pending cases, I was pleased with the $75,000 full-cash bond.”
Hollis said Beaver’s arrests were the result of open communication between area law enforcement agencies and the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office.
“I believe, certainly, a lot of businesses are safer now,” Hollis said of Beaver’s arrest. “Hopefully [Beaver] being caught and eventually prosecuted will keep the people and businesses of Clark County safer.”
Below is a look at the other break-ins
Aug. 17 - JC Cigarette Outlet
Jeffersonville police were dispatched to JC Cigarette Outlet, 1589 E. 10 St., regarding the business’ alarm being activated and breakage to store-front glass. An employee of the business met officers at the scene, and surveillance video was retrieved. The video revealed a man with a blue bandanna covering his face breaking the store’s front window about 1:30 a.m.
The man was in the business for about 20 seconds before exiting with several packages in his hands and leaving the area. The employee told police she believed the suspect took about four packages of Hayze Potpourri Blend from inside the store. The substance is also known as spice, and, like bath salts, is often abused by people looking for a high.
Aug. 21 — JC Cigarette Outlet
Jeffersonville police were again dispatched to JC Cigarette Outlet about 10:30 p.m. Aug. 21 in reference to the business’ alarm being activated and breakage of two windows. Surveillance again showed a man wearing a blue bandanna to cover his face. The video showed the man breaking the glass window with a hammer.
The man took merchandise from behind the counter and cash from a safe, according to the police’s affidavit report. Police noted that about 20 packages of Green Giant Herbal Potpourri, about 20 packages of Hayze Potpourri Blend and nearly $300 were stolen during the burglary.
Aug. 26 — Clarksville Save-A-Step
Officers with the Clarksville police responded to Save-A-Step on South Clark Boulevard in Clarksville on Aug. 26 in reference to an attempted burglary.
The officers spoke with an employee of the convenience store who said that he had arrived to work about 6 a.m. and found the front windows of both doors smashed. Surveillance video showed that a man carrying a hammer outside of the store at 2:50 a.m. trying to enter the business.
On Sept. 5, investigators with Jeffersonville police went to the Clarksville Police Department and identified the man in the Save-A-Step surveillance video as Beaver.
Aug. 31 — Centerstone counseling service
Jeffersonville police responded to Centerstone, 335 Spring St. in Jeffersonville, in reference to an armed robbery in progress at 1:37 a.m. Aug. 31. A resident of the same building told officers that he witnessed a man with a bandanna covering his face force his way into the business.
After arriving on the scene, officers noticed a man, later identified as Beaver, in the area walking toward a minivan parked near the building. Officers ordered Beaver to stop, but he ignored the commands, covered his face with his left arm, continued to the vehicle and drove away, according to the police report.
The officers radioed for assistance and another officer arrived to the area, and after a brief pursuit a traffic stop on Beaver’s vehicle was made. Along the pursuit route, an officer located a hammer and clothing matching that worn by the suspect in the surveillance videos of the previous break-ins.
Beaver was charged with burglary, a class B felony, and resisting law enforcement, a class D felony.
After arresting Beaver during the traffic stop, Jeffersonville investigators went to his Clarksville home and his girlfriend allowed investigators to search the residence. While searching a shed on the property, officers discovered a strong odor of burnt marijuana. Rolling papers and a small amount of a green, leafy substance resembling marijuana was also found on a table in the shed.
Beaver’s girlfriend told the investigators that she had found packages labeled “Hayze” in a trash can in the home about one or two weeks earlier.
According to court documents, an attorney conference for Beaver’s multiple burglary charges is scheduled for Nov. 5 in Clark County Circuit Court No. 1.