2015-06-16 / Front Page

Area Teenagers Facing Adult Charges Of Robbery, Battery

Staff Report

According to a probable cause affidavit prepared by Owen County Sheriff ’s Department (OCSD) Captain Detective Erich Teuton, the Owen County Security Center dispatch received a report of a robbery at 1:30 a.m. on May 25th. The caller advised that he had just been robbed and that a person may have been kidnapped near his home on Wilson Village Road. OCSD Sergeant Clint Wampler and deputy Michael Browning were the first officers on scene and detective Teuton arrived shortly thereafter.

While the EMS crew was tending to the victim’s injuries, officers learned from the victim that around midnight a female, who he knew as Mercedes, knocked on his door. He advised that she asked him if she could use the restroom, which he allowed her to do. After using the restroom Mercedes sat down with him at the kitchen table and told him that she and some friends were planning on camping that night, but they could not find a campsite. She then asked Albert if she could sleep on his couch. A few minutes into this conversation Mercedes told the victim that she heard a noise coming from the front of the residence. The victim got up to investigate and observed masked men in his home. One of the men pointed a firearm at the victim and told him that he would shoot him if he did not cooperate. The victim resisted the men and a struggle ensued. Ultimately, the victim was knocked unconscious. When he awoke, the men and Mercedes were gone and he further noticed that items were missing from his residence. Before being transported to the hospital for treatment, the victim was able to provide officers with a phone number for Mercedes.

Sergeant Wampler requested that dispatch make contact with the cell phone carrier AT&T in an effort to locate Mercedes’ cell phone. A short time later, AT&T was able to obtain an active location for the phone, which showed that it was located just inside Putnam County. Officers made contact with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department and sought their assistance. Officers traveled to the reported location of the cell phone, but lost the signal and they were unable to locate the phone or Mercedes.

Later that afternoon, AT&T advised detective Teuton that they once again located the cell phone. This time, the phone was active at a residence on Grant Street in Cloverdale. Dispatch made contact with Cloverdale Police Officer Charley Hallam who located Mercedes at that address. Detective Teuton traveled to the residence and identified Mercedes as Mercedes Dawn Caito (age 17 of Cloverdale). Detective Teuton interviewed Mercedes in the presence of her mother and learned additional information about the early morning interaction with the victim.

Based on the new information, Detective Teuton made contact with the Owen County Prosecutor’s Office Investigator, Dan McBride, who agreed to assist detective Teuton with his investigation. Over the next week, Teuton and McBride served several search warrants and were able to locate and interview multiple witnesses and suspects. Ultimately, the pair took the information to Owen County Prosecutor Don VanDerMoere, who prepared charges against several individuals.

According to prosecutor VanDerMoere, as of last Friday afternoon three suspects were in custody. Two individuals, who are being charged as adults, were in the custody of the Owen County Security Center and the other was being detained at a juvenile detention center. Mercedes Dawn Caito is facing formal charges of robbery resulting in bodily injury (Level 3 Felony) and theft (A misdemeanor). Dakota Cary Cutshaw (age 17 of Greencastle) is facing formal charges of robbery resulting in bodily injury (Level 3 Felony), battery resulting in bodily injury and theft (A misdemeanor). VanDerMoere advised that he expects to file charges against additional suspects.

The prosecutor issued a reminder that these criminal charges are only allegations and that these suspects are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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