Four arrested for robberies, attacks on Amish

Four teenagers were arrested over the weekend for a spree of robberies and baseball bat attacks against Amish of Geauga County, Ohio.

The youth targeted Amish businesses and Amish in buggies and “brutally beat” several Amish men, in incidents over the past week and perhaps earlier.

The first reported attack occurred June 22 or 23, with numerous reports of break-ins over the following days. In one of the first assaults, the attackers damaged a buggy (see photos) and caused minor injuries to their victims.

Photos: Mary Kilpatrick, Northeast Ohio Media Group

The assailants were described as “homeless and hungry”, and one expressed relief at being apprehended.

The suspects admitted to the church burglary and one suspect said he was relieved they were caught because they would now have a place to stay and food to eat, he said.

“They started breaking into Amish businesses in the middle of the night, and when the group would only get small amounts of money from their burglaries, the group decided to rob Amish people in the night in an effort to get cash,” he said. “They admitted to sleeping most of the day and go out at night after 11 p.m. and cruise the area. They couldn’t even name all of the businesses they broke into, they said there were so many they couldn’t remember.”

He added that many places may not have reported a break-in, and break-ins occurred in Geauga, Ashtabula and Trumbull counties since May.

Three of the suspects are from Middlefield (a town in the heart of the Amish settlement) and one from Cleveland.


“I think they were under the belief that the Amish would not report the crime,” said a police official.

A total of eight break-ins have been reported. Victims should contact the Geauga County Sherriff’s Office at 440-279-2009; 440- 564-7131; or 440-834-1858, ext. 2009.

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    1. Anonymous

      The Amish somehow will have to get a cell phone.
      I mean their custom is ridiculous, how are the suppose to get hold of the Law Enforcement? If the Amish had a Restaurant. they, must by Law have to up-date to the health of department 2014.

      I must say, yeah, on Sunday Morning when good people are in Church, to get a robbery.

      I must say, 1st, September 11th. we did not know what would happen next. Then, an Amish School got harsh attacks.

      Thanks to the News-media. This kind of Behavior against the Amish will be repeated. and the next time an attack happen, their may not be good people around to summons the police. I rather not go on, as I made my point.

      1. Rachelle

        No, you really didn’t make a point at all.

      2. garrett


        I feel dumb for even reading this!!!

    2. Marilyn

      I am a Englisher. I have a cell phone and I don’t think to take it with me all the time. The Amish must have been able to contact the police as the police solved the crime.

      I feel it is terrible if anyone gets robbed like that, especially the Amish. Unfortunately, I think robbers feel they Amish are easier to rob than the Englishers. The men that did it are so young. It also shows that the Amish will call the police when necessary.

      1. Amish reporting crimes

        Maybe if more of these stories are publicized, the idea that Amish do not contact police will start to disappear. Though some Amish will be more comfortable dealing with police than others.

        And Anonymous, how do you know that these Amish did not call the police using a cell phone? Quite a few Amish young people and adults have them.

        1. Amish robbed - the great story from Wayne County on WEWS TV5


          Here is that great story from WEWS TV5 in Cleveland about the Kidron Amish store that used some technology and “smarts” to catch the thieves.



    3. Juanita Cook

      This is such a sad thing to happen to the Amish or anyone. I do wish that they would report these kinds of things when they happen to them. Glad they were caught and the get a very stiff punishment..

    4. Guy

      Make these boys work for the damage

      This happen not far from me
      and I think they should Make these boys work for the damage I mean hard labor and live with the amish has HARD labors
      make them built a buggy
      and go after the parents also

    5. Gary Counterman

      When Different Worlds Collide

      When these crimes happen to the Amish the way our cultures are different is what so often comes to the forefront first. Next is the senselessness of violence and crimes against the Amish, it never makes any sense. Who would target the Amish and why? Well actually that answer isn’t that hard; it’s someone looking for an easy target, someone who takes advantage of what they perceive as weakness in the Amish. Perhaps the criminal is a person of a character as to almost have no character or who may have a mental illness, or some other problem.

      The young gang who victimized the Amish don’t seem the exception. They are four lads who appear homeless, jobless, without family and reckless. They are so different from the Amish whose lives are lived with purpose which is evident in almost everything they do. By chance or grace no one during this crime spree was fatally injured or killed, of some consolation I suppose, but not enough as I see it. All the injury and fear they caused the community shouldn’t go unpunished and some kind of restitution is in order.

      But then the Amish, no strangers to forgiveness have likely moved on already, forgiven, given it up to God, as is their custom and all while barely missing a beat, while following the simpler and peaceful rhythms of their lives. Maybe one day I could learn to be more forgiving, or perhaps their tormentors, after having received such grace, may become inspired to be better men.

    6. Mark - Holmes Co.

      I like how you ended your comment, Gary. It would be a blessing if this could be a “turning point” for those boys. I can only imagine how miserable their lives must be.

      1. Boys or men?

        Mark and Gary, thanks – “miserable” is the word I was searching for. What they did was wrong but it also makes one wonder about their back story. Homelessness is classed a big city problem, we don’t expect to see it in small towns like Middlefield (pop. 2,694). No doubt there are bad domestic situations in the picture.

        I would guess that more Amish would feel sorry for these guys than angry, even the direct victims once they have time to get over the shock and harm done.

        It was also interesting to see the way this story was reported. In one of the stories I linked, three of them (the 18 and 19-year-olds) were described as “men” and one (the 17-year-old) as a “boy”. I know the legal cutoff for adulthood is 18 but it seems rather artificial to divide them like that, especially since boyhood lasts a lot longer than it once did.

    7. Sharyn

      Four arrested for robberies,,attacks on Amish

      I know these Amish, I drove for them ! A great bunch of guys who would do anything for me !!!!! I am glad the police were able to catch the bad guys !!! As for phones/ cell phones in the Mespo area almost every Amish teen/twenty-something has a cell phone .

      1. Sharyn this reminded me that the Geauga community has had a bad run lately with violent events. Last summer two Amish teens were shot in a strange incident on an English property in the area. I hadn’t heard what happened with the men who were arrested for the shooting.

    8. Anne

      so sad

      From what I know Amish communities will have different responses to these sorts of things. In my son’s community, it might not be reported, but other “English” friends will report it if they find out. I love it when the surrounding community cares for its own this way. BTW, they do not have cell phones, though we have tried to give them one (rechargeable by hand cranking).

      This group holds the view of non-retribution very high, but they also believe in the Biblical teaching that the State bears the sword to punish evil. So they are supportive of that. A few years ago, some area teenage boys set an Amish barn on fire, burning down the barn and killing the milk cows inside. Of course the police got involved and apprehended the youths. The Amish offered forgiveness and asked if the boys could come work with them as compensation. I never heard how that was decided…

    9. Ed from NY

      One of the suspects expressed relief upon being caught. I share that relief.

      Interesting items that should be publicized from this case:

      1. The Amish businesses robbed at night netted the robbers only small change, or small amounts of cash. Likely not even minimum-wage money when divided by the four.

      2. The Amish do report crimes to police.

      3. Some Amish do carry cell phones.

      4. The thieves were CAUGHT.

      1. If you're thinking of robbing the Amish, read Ed's comment

        Thanks for summing those up Ed. Good guidelines for anyone researching whether they should or should not try to rob the Amish.

        There is another story about armed robberies of buggies in Michigan (Gladwin and Clare Counties). We mentioned that story here a couple of weeks ago, though details were sketchy at the time. There is now a reward out and more details.

        Based on what usually seems to happen when criminals try to take advantage of the Amish, these people will probably be caught too.

        “The method of operation in the incidents involves the suspects driving up to their victims after dark with a vehicle’s bright lights on to avoid being seen. That has led to sketchy vehicle identifications. Thus far, the descriptions include a dark colored vehicle, a pickup truck and a sedan, troopers said. The suspects then demand cash.”

    10. Alice Mary

      Amish forgiveness goes a long way, as evidenced by Anne’s story of the Amish forgiving the boys who burned down a barn, thus killing the cows within it. I can’t think of a better “punishment” (if you could call it that—it’s more of an opportunity to be a turning point, as Gary mentioned)—having the boys work for/with the Amish whose property and livestock they destroyed.

      I hope those who broke into the Amish businesses have that opportunity.

      Alice Mary

    11. G. Stutzman

      My father (a Mennonite) was until recently an Englisher employee of a large and very successful Amish construction company in Ohio. I always thought it deeply ironic and typically hypocritical that not only was he the personal chauffer of one of the 2 principle partners; he also was the guy whose name appeared on the company cellphone bill. Yes, the Amish have cellphones.

      As for Rachelle and Garrett’s comments I can only say…”LOL and Bravo”.

      1. Mark - Holmes Co.

        I’m glad I was not the only person puzzled at Anonymous’s comments. 🙂
        As for drivers & cell-phones, I once heard an Amish man compare drivers to airplane use, saying that though a person might fly frequently on business, they still wouldn’t consider buying and flying a plane themselves. It’s kind of funny, but maybe not as realistic.
        Use of hired drivers can really vary from group to group and individual by individual. There are always going to be some individuals who crowd the line or have a different interpretation. Personally I feel if you have a cell phone for business — put it in your own name…
        We have a non-Amish coworker who does a lot of our business related errands, but that is what the understanding was and we all benefit.

    12. Guy

      I was at middle field Ohio few years ago
      and while driving I seen bOys making fun of a Amish lady walking with her little girl. Not sure what they were saying But it really hurt her feelings and she started walking really fast with his baby. I wanted to go after those boys But I did not. middle field Ohio is about 50 miles from me that’s it

    13. I know a few Amish families who live on Bundysburg Road.. Hope it wasnt any of them or their families..

      Its too bad that people are haters of those different from themselves.. but I know there are a lot of them out there in Middlefield.. I’ve heard them complain about the Amish repeatedly..

      I dont think violence only happens in certain areas.. I think its everywhere & we as the public dont always hear about it.

    14. Tom Geist

      Just my 2 cent as I am not Amish…

      My understanding is that Amish people rely on God for their ultimate protection. While they might take some small simple steps to protect themselves, on the whole their faith is in God not other men to set things right. So the question becomes, “How big is your God?” and “How strong is your faith.”

      English people often times want instant justice… which usually is the “eye for and eye” rather than the “turn the other cheek kind.”

      This holds true for the Amish in getting English medical treatment versus their own unofficial doctoring for their families.

      Their faith in God also leads them not to be non violent and to not go to war. Some English would say THEY are the reason the Amish have are safe, (taking God out of the equation) but the Amish would disagree.

      God helps them that help themselves…..

      …….but at some point, when we can’t (or won’t) do more, we turn things over to God. I believe the Amish have a lower threshold for turning things over to God….or is it that they have more faith.(?)

      Which reminds me of a joke about faith…

      A man named Jack was walking along a steep cliff one day, when he accidentally got too close to the edge and fell. On the way down he grabbed a branch, which temporarily stopped his fall. He looked down and to his horror saw that the canyon fell straight down for more than a thousand feet.

      He couldn’t hang onto the branch forever, and there was no way for him to climb up the steep wall of the cliff. So Jack began yelling for help, hoping that someone passing by would hear him and lower a rope or something.

      HELP! HELP! Is anyone up there? “HELP!”

      He yelled for a long time, but no one heard him. He was about to give up when he heard a voice. Jack, Jack. Can you hear me?”

      “Yes, yes! I can hear you. I’m down here!”

      “I can see you, Jack. Are you all right?”

      “Yes, but who are you, and where are you?

      “I am the Lord, Jack. I’m everywhere.”

      “The Lord? You mean, GOD?”

      “That’s Me.”

      “God, please help me! I promise if, you’ll get me down from here, I’ll stop sinning. I’ll be a really good person. I’ll serve You for the rest of my life.”

      “Easy on the promises, Jack. Let’s get you off from there; then we can talk.”

      “Now, here’s what I want you to do. Listen carefully.”

      “I’ll do anything, God. Just tell me what to do.”

      “Okay. Let go of the branch.”


      “I said, let go of the branch. Just trust Me. Let go.”

      There was a long silence.

      Finally Jack yelled, “HELP! HELP! IS ANYONE ELSE UP THERE?”

      Tom in Lincoln

      1. I like that joke Tom. I also like your description, “lower threshold for turning things over to God”. I had never thought of it in those terms.

    15. Marcus from Sweden

      If they needed a place to stay and food to eat, wouldn’t it have been a lot easier to just knock on the doors of those amish folks and politely ask for it? Instead of beating them and breaking in and robbing their businesses in order to be thrown in jail? I’m sure they’d be able to work something out for them?

    16. 8 1/2 years for robberies, attacks on Amish

      The first punishment has been handed out, for the 19-year-old who drove the car in these attacks and robberies.

      A teen who drove the car used to commit organized attacks on the Amish was sentenced Oct. 27 to 8 1/2 years in prison in Geauga County Common Pleas Court.

      Chase Kontur, 19, whose last known address was in Middlefield Township, previously admitted helping attack the Amish for money because he thought they were easy targets and would not report the crime.

    17. I just cant imagine that people, even young people can be so incredibly ignorant.. Its so very sad. I guess they’re learning the hard way.