Man Says He Broke Into Ohio Station to Get Out of Cold


Police in Saline Township said a man accused of breaking into the police department over the weekend wasn't looking to steal anything, but was instead looking to use the phone and get out of the cold weather.

"The only reason he gave was that he was cold and needed to use the phone," said Saline Township Police Chief Ken Hayes.

Lee Tilton, of Wellsville, was arrested after police claim an officer arrived at the department early Saturday morning to discover damage. Hayes said that Tilton had left a short time before returning and confessing to "knocking on the door too hard."

"He was asked by the officer, 'Did you do this?' and [Tilton] said, 'Oh, yeah. I did that,'" Hayes noted.

Surveillance video shot from several cameras around the Saline Township Police Department shows a man walking around the area for more than an hour.

"Ballpark figure, an hour and a half," said Hayes. "Back and Forth," he added.

The man in the video, who police claim is Tilton, can be seen knocking on the door of the department several times. The man is also seen in the video approaching a police cruiser and trying to make a call on a cell phone.

"It was confusing at best as to why he did what he did," said Hayes who described Tilton as "mixed-up" when he was interviewed following the crime. Hayes said he was unsure if the suspect had been drinking or taking illegal drugs.

Hayes said that he was especially concerned about the break-in because of sensitive files and weapons that are stored inside a police department. Hayes called a police department "sacred."

"Yes, we're concerned," Hayes said. He added that the department is staffed around the clock, but when the break-in occurred, the on-duty officer was patrolling the road. The department does not have an overnight dispatcher.

"I think he had second thoughts after he stepped in and realized the magnitude of the offense," said Hayes noting that the suspect didn't take anything from inside the building and left shortly after the door gave in.

Tilton is charged with felony breaking and entering and remained in the Jefferson County Jail Wednesday afternoon.

The front door of the police department had already been replaced Wednesday morning. Hayes said he has plans to install additional security features, including more surveillance cameras.

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