Police: Man confesses to spree of BMV shootings, church fires and vandalism

Three BMV locations shot up overnight
Three BMV locations shot up overnight
Posted at 6:55 AM, Aug 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-30 06:12:03-04

A shooting spree that spread over multiple cities ended Tuesday morning when a 49-year-old Hartville man was apprehended by officers from the Uniontown Police Department.

Uniontown officers responded Monday night to Hartville Hardware at 1315 Edison Street NW after they received a call about shots being fired at the windows of the store while an employee was inside. 

The night prior, officers responded to the same store for a vandalism complaint after someone had tagged the store with graffiti.

Using surveillance video obtained from the store, police were able to obtain images of a suspect and the white Ford Ranger pickup truck he was driving. 

A “be on the lookout” alert or BOLO was issued for the pickup and was spotted several hours later.

The suspect, Richard Rhodes, was arrested during a traffic stop.  During the arrest, police found a .22 caliber rifle, several DeHoff Realty signs and a Hartville Equestrian sign that had been cut down.

Police said Rhodes admitted spray painting the logo at the hardware store on Sunday and returning Monday night to shoot at the window.

During the investigation, it was learned Rhodes claimed responsibility for shooting out the windows at three separate Bureau of Motor Vehicle locations Monday night and Tuesday morning in Cuyahoga Falls, North Canton and Barberton.

He also claimed to have shot at the Ohio Department of Transportation building on Arlington Road in Akron and the ODOT garage on Mt. Pleasant Road in North Canton, as well as the window of an Ohio State Highway Patrol vehicle which had been parked at the Canton patrol post. 

Additionally, Rhodes told investigators he was responsible for setting fire to the St. Nikolai Orthodox church in Marlboro over the weekend, causing nearly $80,000 in damage. He also admitted to using a chain saw to demolish a cross at the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Alliance.

Police said Rhodes has been cooperating with them thus far but has not given a reason for the shootings or the other crimes he claims to be involved in.

Rhodes is facing a slew of charges including felonious assault, improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, vandalism, receiving stolen property and discharging firearms on or near a prohibited premises.  Additional charges are expected to be forthcoming from Hartville police, Stark County Sheriff’s Office, Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Cuyahoga Falls police, Barberton police, North Canton police, Marlboro Township police, Jackson Township police and OSHP.

He is currently being held in the Stark County Jail in lieu of a $50,250 bond.  An initial court date has not been set yet.