19 News crew spots Ashtabula fugitive at story, helps get him arrested

Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 10:16 PM EDT
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ASHTABULA, Ohio (WOIO) - An Ashtabula man who was out on parole was caught on camera cutting off his ankle monitor and stashing it at the Ace Hardware store Tuesday morning.

On Thursday a 19 News crew spotted that escaped felon just steps away from the hardware store and it was our reporter that made the call that led to his arrest.

Cheryl Haytcher, manager at Ace Hardware said the man came in on a mission. He went straight for these hedge clippers, cut off his ankle monitor, and went on his way. Surveillance video shows the Ashtabula man, who 19 News learned, was recently released from prison come into the store on Lake Avenue Tuesday morning.

“My associate a cashier she went to see if he needed any help but by that time, he had already gotten the hedge clippers and cut off his ankle monitor,” said Haytcher.

U.S. Marshals identified the man as Aaron Brock and he said he was locked up for felonious assault. Surveillance cameras didn’t capture Brock cutting off the ankle bracelet but showed him stashing it.

“He just put it right up in there just laid it right up,” Haytcher explained.

He didn’t steal anything but made sure to grab a bag of free popcorn on his way out.

“We laughed about it at first, we were like, what is this thing?” said Haytcher. “I’m glad that we were able to alert the authorities soon after we found the ankle bracelet.”

But then, an unexpected plot twist.

Our 19 News crew had just finished their story at Ace Hardware, and they were packing up and getting ready to leave when 19 News photographer Mike Brown noticed a guy who looked strangely familiar in the parking lot. They watched him run into the laundromat.

So, reporter Kelly Kennedy called U.S. Marshals and Ashtabula city police and then they went into the laundromat to see if he was inside. Customers told them the man ran in and right out the back door.

“He went out the back door? Oh my God, he went out the back door!” Kennedy said while talking to a man at the laundry mat.

A couple of hours later Ashtabula police were patrolling the area and they spotted Brock coming out of McDonalds. He’s in the Ashtabula city jail.

The U.S. Marshal’s office thanked 19 News for notifying them right away. They said Brock told them he was planning to turn himself in the next day.