Footprints lead to arrest

With a little help from the snow and a determined local resident, police were able to apprehend an Elkins man who escaped after allegedly breaking into a building in Beverly Thursday.

State police charged Bernard Aaron Greer III, 32, of Elkins, with breaking and entering, a felony, following an incident during which he was allegedly caught breaking into a building on Files Creek Road by the building’s owner, Tim Lewis, and subsequently fleeing.

According to the criminal complaint in the Randolph County Magistrate Court’s Office, Cpl. G.S. DeWeese with the Elkins detachment of the West Virginia State Police was dispatched to Files Creek Road at about 1:30 p.m. in response to a breaking and entering complaint. DeWeese noticed that the door to the broken-in building was ajar and that there were footprints in the snow leading out of the driveway.

Brian Swecker, Lewis’ friend, told DeWeese that Lewis had caught Greer breaking into his building. When Greer allegedly fled in a red Dodge pick-up truck, Lewis followed him down Files Creek Road and was guarding a dead-end logging road down which Greer had driven, Swecker told DeWeese, according to the complaint.

DeWeese then located Lewis and the two followed the logging road until they found the red Dodge pick-up truck Greer had been driving in a ditch on the side of the road.

The vehicle was unoccupied, but DeWeese and Lewis found a set of footprints in the snow that led up a hillside. DeWeese and K-9 Officer Servo followed the snow-covered tracks and found Greer hiding in a brush pile.

DeWeese placed Greer under arrest.

According to the complaint, Lewis told DeWeese that when he saw Greer “loading up (Lewis’) property),” he tried to use a loaded gun to hold Greer at the scene until police arrived. Undeterred, Greer climbed into his truck, hit Lewis’ white truck with his red truck and then drove away.

“Mr. Lewis advised he followed Mr. Greer … and sat at the bottom of the roadway after pulling two trees in the road to hinder Mr. Greer from escaping,” DeWeese wrote in the report.

Randolph County Magistrate Rob Elbon set bond at $25,000 cash or surety; Greer remained incarcerated in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail as of presstime.

The penalty for breaking and entering is imprisonment for one to 10 years in the state penitentiary.

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