Landlord arrested for breaking into tenant’s residence

By Katie Kuba

Senior Staff Writer

A Mill Creek landlord remained incarcerated Monday after he was arrested this weekend for allegedly breaking into his tenant’s residence and removing her dog.

Larry A. Paugh, 54, was charged with one felony count of burglary Saturday following two separate incidents in which he allegedly followed through on threats to break into the adult female’s residence.

According to the criminal complaint in the Randolph County Magistrate Clerk’s office, at about 11:15 p.m., Trooper C.E. Elliott with the Elkins detachment of the West Virginia State Police responded to a breaking-and-entering complaint from a residence located along Pond Street in Mill Creek.

When he arrived at the residence, the female victim told Elliott, the investigating officer, that at 4 p.m. the same day, her landlord, Paugh, allegedly threatened to break into her residence. The victim said she’d vacated the residence at about 6:30 p.m. and returned at 10:45 p.m. to find her kitchen door “pushed in” and her dog missing, the complaint states.

The victim gave Elliott a picture of the dog, saying it was probably somewhere inside Paugh’s residence and warning the trooper that Paugh possessed a gun.

Elliott then knocked on the door of Paugh’s residence, which he said was located adjacent to the victim’s. The front door was slightly open, and Elliott allegedly saw a dog matching the description of the victim’s dog inside. When Paugh came to the door, Elliott ordered him to show both hands, but Paugh allegedly “refused and would not fully expose himself from behind the door,” Elliott wrote in the complaint.

After Elliott again ordered Paugh to put up his hands and step onto the front porch for questioning, Paugh said, “(Expletive) you, I am not coming out” and closed the door.

Elliott left, but returned to the residence at 5:15 a.m. Sunday, upon receiving a second call at 5 a.m. from the victim, who claimed Paugh was at her residence “kicking on the doors, trying to gain access.” When the officer reached the victim’s residence, she said Paugh left prior to Elliott’s early-morning arrival.

Elliott allegedly saw the victim’s dog outside of Paugh’s residence, and upon further investigation, noticed and photographed boot prints on the outside of the victim’s door that he believed belonged to Paugh.

Chief magistrate Ben Shepler set bond at $10,000 cash, property or surety, and as of presstime, Paugh remained in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail.

The penalty for a conviction of burglary is imprisonment in the state penitentiary for one to 15 years.

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