Task Force arrests man accused of Lakewood rape, kidnapping

1:44 PM, Jan 30, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- At 9:15 Wednesday morning, acting on an anonymous tip, members of the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force arrested Bobby Thomas, 39.

Thomas was wanted by the Lakewood Police Department for rape and kidnapping.

At about 8:40 a.m. Wednesday, the NOVFTF received an anonymous text tip that Thomas was hiding at a home near the 3200 block of W. 73rd. St. in Cleveland.

Task force members immediately responded to the tip.

While searching the home, officers located Thomas hiding in a closet. Thomas was taken to the Lakewood City Jail and booked in on the warrant.

The U.S. Marshal's Office in Northern Ohio was the first in the nation to introduce an anonymous text tip line for the public to discreetly send information on wanted fugitives.

It is alleged that, beginning back in August of 2012 and continuing through October of 2012, Thomas repeatedly raped a child under the age of 14.

Last week, the NOVFTF profiled Thomas in local media as the "Fugitive of the Week" and numerous tips were received but none that were able to lead the Task Force to Thomas current location.

Fugitive of the Week wanted for raping, kidnapping child

The anonymius tip line was introduced in December 2011 and the NOVFTF has made several significant arrests based on information received through this new text tip feature.

Since release, a large number of other U.S. Marshal's offices have implemented the same feature and it has proven successful across the nation.

U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott stated, "This is another great example of the success we have when the media and the public work with us to help keep our communities safe.  We will always continue to seek out new technologies to assist us with pursing those that evade the law."

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of a known fugitive is encouraged to contact the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at 1-866-4WANTED or Text keyword WANTED and tip to TIP411 (847411). Tipsters can remain anonymous and reward money is available.

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