Canine Unit Apprehends Man Under Bed

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The Athens County Sheriff’s Office has its canine unit to thank for its latest apprehension.

The sheriff’s office was searching for Benjamin Bellar, 24, who was wanted on a nationwide warrant for a felony theft charge.

Bellar fled from law enforcement on Jan. 5 when the Athens Major Crimes Unit responded to 9310 Stagecoach Road, but the sheriff’s office received new information that he was at a residence at Happy Valley Estates in Athens on Jan 6, according to a news release by the sheriff’s office.

The Happy Valley Estates residence was surrounded by police, and several attempts were made to contact Bellar by knocking on the front door.

Deputies made contact with a key holder of the residence, who said “they did not want any type of wanted persons or criminal activity at the family residence,” according to the news release.

When law enforcement attempted to open the front door, a woman and two dogs exited through the back door. Deputies talked to the female, who told them Bellar was in the residence.

When Bellar would not surrender, canine unit Ijo was deployed to search the residence.

“K9 Ijo was then deployed for a search of a back bedroom, where he jumped on top of the bed,” the release stated.

Deputy John Kulchar and Lieutenant Jason Kline verbally attempted to convince Bellar to surrender.

“Due to failing to comply, past violent tendencies, fleeing from law enforcement, a felony warrant, (and being) unaware of any weapons, K9 Ijo was deployed for an apprehension bite,” the release stated.

Emergency crews were called to the scene to evaluate the bite injury, and Bellar was taken into custody.

More charges are pending, and he is currently housed in the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail on a $25,000 bond, according to jail records.