Police say suspect claimed to be U.S. Marshal

PARKERSBURG — A Parkersburg man was arrested Tuesday on charges of first-degree robbery and burglary after allegedly attempting to rob a house while claiming to be a U.S. Marshal.

Jonathan Wayne Smith, 35, of 611 32nd St., Parkersburg, was identified by images from a security device and a document he left behind that turned out to be a copy of his indictment on unrelated federal charges, according to a criminal complaint filed in Wood County Magistrate Court.

The criminal complaint says that on July 11, Smith knocked on the door of a residence at 107 Pickering St. in Parkersburg and claimed to be a marshal with a search warrant. He pointed a pellet gun at the woman who opened the door and entered, then tried to handcuff a man inside.

“They did not know him,” Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin said.

Smith allegedly demanded the man give him money, the complaint said. When the man said he didn’t have any, Smith reportedly began hitting him.

The man was able to fight off his attacker, who fled without the paperwork he’d claimed was a warrant, the complaint says. The paperwork was a copy of a federal indictment.

Records on file with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia show Smith was indicted in September on three counts of making false statements to a federal credit union to obtain loans and 12 counts of monetary transactions derived from unlawful activity. According to the indictment, he overstated the value of property he put up as collateral and his own income in 2016 to receive loans in excess of $722,763, then withdrew or transferred nearly $612,000 from his account.

Police asked for help locating Smith on the department’s Facebook page. An anonymous phone tip helped them find him Tuesday at his residence, where he was arrested without incident, Martin said.

Smith was arraigned in Magistrate Court, with bond set at $100,000 on the burglary charge.

Bond for the first-degree robbery charge must be set in Wood County Circuit Court because it carries a potential maximum sentence of life in prison.

Martin said the motive for the crime is still under investigation and asked anyone with information on the case to contact Detective Sgt. B.J. Depue at 304-424-8444.

Smith was also charged with one count of fraudulent schemes after allegedly charging a Delaware business owner multiple times for repairs to a dump truck that were supposed to be completed at Smith’s business, Elite Truck and Trailer Repair, according to a criminal complaint. Bond was set at $50,000 on that charge.


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