2017-02-22 / Front Page

Alleged Carjacking Victim Pays Fine

The man who told Fulton County sheriff deputies he had been carjacked by a gunwielding suspect has pled guilty and paid a fine on a traffic ticket.

Michael Heier, 55, rural Wauseon, was picked up by sheriff deputies after 2 am, Tuesday, Feb. 14, walking near St. Rt. 2 and Co. Rd. 19.

He told deputies he had been carjacked by a suspect with a gun he had picked up near St. Rt. 109 and Co. Rd. H.

Heier said he was forced out of the car near the intersection of St. Rt. 2 and Co. Rd. 19; then the suspect reportedly drove off in his car.

The car was found later about 1 1/2 miles from where Heier was allegedly dropped off.

The car had crashed somewhere else, then became disabled.

Investigation

Roy Miller, sheriff, said immediately, “There were things that did not seem right, but at 2:30 in the morning, it’s hard to follow up as businessess had closed.

Miller said deputies wanted to check Heier’s move- ments prior to the alleged carjacking.

Heier had been to a couple of “establishments” that night, and had stopped into gas stations, Miller said. Deputies wanted to talk to people at those places and check surveillance video, to see what Heier had been doing.

But with the businesses closed, deputies couldn’t make those checks right away.

“The deputy that took the report was not aware of the crash when he picked up the alleged victim.”

Miller said the deputy took Heier’s report and dropped him off at his residence.

“It was later when the vehicle was found sitting along the road damaged, but not at the site of the crash,” said Miller.

“The crash scene was found later, about a mile away from the point where Heier was found by deputies.

“The victim was interviewed and stuck to his story. On day shift, we started backtracking, doing further investigation, trying to prove or disprove the story.

“As the day went on, we received a call from an attorney asking questions on behalf of the victim.

“We still had no proof of what took place, other than what we were told by the victim.

“The whole thing was very odd, to say the least.”

Stolen, Wrecked

Miller said FCSD has reports of cars reported stolen, then later found wrecked the following day, several times a year.

“Most of the time our gut feeling is the owner or someone they know had been drinking or driving under suspension, and did not want a ticket,” he said. “We can’t prove otherwise, so we take the stolen report.”

Miller said Heier’s attorney offered to have his client plead guilty to a traffic violation, and pay the fine and the tow bill for the damaged car.

The attorney advised Hei- er not to offer further information to sheriff department officials.

“We were still not sure at this point, but we feel the story (of the carjacking) was not true due to an uncooperative victim,” Miller said.

“We can’t force people to cooperate with our investigations.”

Heier was cited for failure to control a motor vehicle in Western District Court on Tuesday, Feb. 14, the same day as the incident.

He entered a guilty plea and paid a fine of $102, plus $88 in court costs.

“We could have come away with nothing, but in my mind, if the ticket was paid, it shed some truth to our feelings,” Miller said.

Media

The story of the alleged carjacking was picked up by television station websites; from there, it spread to the social media site Facebook, and went around the area.

“The media were the ones to jump to conclusions before letting us do an investigation,” Miller said.

“Our office never called the media, so from there, Facebook took off.”

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