Peebles High School and Elementary were put on lock down on Friday, Oct. 16 while Sheriff’s deputies and the town police searched for a man wanted for shoplifting at the First Stop gas station at the 41 and 73 intersection outside Peebles.
Michael Anthony Waller was released from the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility at 8:00 a.m. Three hours later he was back in handcuffs on his way to Adams County jail.
According to authorities, Waller, 47, was released from prison after serving 14 years for armed robbery and aggravated burglary. The day of his release he boarded a Go-Bus that would take him to a homeless shelter in Cincinnati.
When the bus stopped at the First Stop station Waller entered the business and began sliding items off the shelf and tucking them into his clothing.
First Stop employee, Hayleigh Swayne said, “He came in and started stuffing items into his pockets, when he saw me looking at him he walked out of the store.”
Swayne reported the theft to her manager, Carol Huff, who went immediately to the Go-Bus and demanded Waller leave the bus and return the stolen merchandise.
According to another eyewitness, “He got off the bus and returned some of the stolen items to Huff, and then he ran for it. He crossed the highway and the car dealership, jumped a fence, then ran into a corn field and the woods beyond.”
Chief Robert Music notified the elementary and high school principals. “Getting the schools into lock-down was the most important job we had,” he said.
School Resource Officers Lisa Phillips and Shane Thatcher also responded to the call and began searching the
area around the schools. Deputy Thatcher spotted the suspect north of the intersection and apprehended him. Waller still had possession of the stolen merchandise valued at approximately $100.
An official from the correctional facility said, “We figured he (Waller) just didn’t want to face life outside of prison, so he got himself arrested as soon as he could.”
Waller was taken to the Adams County Jail where he awaits arraignment on theft charges.