Home invasion ends in car chase

NILES – Bond was set at $250,000 for a Warren man charged in connection with a home invasion Tuesday night at a Butler Avenue residence, where three people were tied up.

He was captured when one of the victims broke free, gave chase, and held an escape vehicle at gunpoint, police said.

Drakkar Daniel Little, 20, of 710 Woodbine S.E., was arraigned Wednesday in Niles Municipal Court on charges of aggravated robbery with a firearm and kidnapping. He was being held at the Trumbull County Jail, and is due back in municipal court next Wednesday for a preliminary hearing.

On Wednesday, police said that they were looking for a second individual, but they had not yet identified him and only knew his street name, or nickname.

Niles police Capt. Ken Criswell said it’s possible more people were involved, but only two entered the home.

Criswell said he believes the motive was robbery and that police do not believe any of the occupants knew the intruders. However, it is possible one of the gunmen was familiar with the home and who lives there. Criswell said at one point, one of the intruders indicated that someone had told him there was money at the home.

“We think they had some knowledge of who lived there. The home wasn’t chosen at random. Someone had information about the home and sent these guys there,” Criswell said.

He said the occupants, Judith Kellar, 43, and Fred Holbrook, 66, were not hurt when the two men broke into the home just before 10:30 p.m. The intruders held them and an insurance agent, Terry Stauffer, at gunpoint and tied them up with long shoe or boot laces.

Stauffer suffered a minor cut on his wrist when one of the gunmen ripped a bracelet off his wrist, Criswell said. Stauffer was also forced to remove hearing aids, which one of the gunman smashed.

Police said that after the gunmen ran from the residence, the occupants broke free from their restraints.

Stauffer, who has a permit to carry a firearm, ran to his car to retrieve his weapon and saw a van pull away, police said. Stauffer pursued the van in his own vehicle and watched it pull into the Niles Fuel Plus convenience store on West Park Avenue, police said.

They said Stauffer went up to the van, pointed his gun at the windshield, and told bystanders to call 911.

Police said they knew Little had been in the vehicle because he had left his ID behind.

Police said they do not believe that the individual in the van, a juvenile female, was involved in or was aware of the home invasion. Criswell said police believe one of the gunmen, who is related to the girl, asked her to give him a ride to Niles in exchange for gas money.

Criswell said Stauffer happened to be there because he had been working in the area that day, was working late, and that Kellar had inquired about an insurance policy. Tuesday evening was the best time the two could meet because of their schedules, Criswell said.