Suspect in custody after police investigate bizarre series of events

By Melanie Williamson


At approximately 1 p.m. on Tuesday, September 11, the City of Vermilion Police Department posted on their Facebook page that they were looking for a subject by the name of Jonathan Puccia, who was wanted for questioning in relation to a stolen car, a stolen boat, and a break-in among other things.


Police Chief Chris Hartung explained that the investigation started on Monday, September 10, when the department received a report of a suspicious van and individual near Valley Harbor Marina. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the van but did not find the person spotted with the van. It was soon discovered that the van had been reported stolen from the Norwalk area.


Simultaneously, the Erie County Sherriff’s office was investigating a break-in at the Wayside Inn Monday night. In the morning on Tuesday, September 11, an abandoned boat was found near the shore in the 1200 block of West Lake Road. Hartung explained that the port side was engaged and the steering wheel had been tied. There were also several gas drums found in the boat.


According to Hartung, based on security photos from area businesses, the Vermilion police department and the Erie County Sherriff’s office determined they were looking for the same person.  Tuesday morning, a Vermilion Township resident reported their car windows had been smashed. Then a Vermilion city resident called to report a man tried to steal his car out of his driveway. The resident reported that the man got in his car and attempted to drive away but hit some garbage cans. When the owner approached him, he took off on foot.


Not long after that, a resident on Huron Street called to report their car had been stolen out of their garage. With the license plate and description of the stolen vehicle, other departments were made aware of the situation, and Puccia was stopped on the turnpike in the stolen vehicle by the Ohio State Highway Patrol near Medina.


As of the paper’s deadline on Tuesday, Puccia was being transported back to Erie County. Hartung explained that once he is in custody in Erie County, he will undergo a psychological evaluation and charges will be determined.  Due to the recentness of the event, Hartung had not yet had the opportunity to speak to Puccia and an official report had not yet been prepared.


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