The Wheeling Police Department released a final report in two separate multi-week special operations in the South Wheeling area which led to 34 people being arrested or cited for criminal activity.

The two efforts – ‘Operation Southern Exposure’ and ‘Operation Back to Basics’ took place in May and July after Wheeling Police collected and reviewed recent crime data/trends.

Police say they also received multiple complaints from citizens about increased criminal activity in the neighborhood, specifically thefts and drug usage. Law enforcement say they focused their efforts on improving the quality-of-life and safety for residents from 16th to 48th Street. In all, officers worked more than 400 hours on both operations.

“I continue to believe in intelligence led policing as well as aggressive enforcement action to make positives impacts related to public safety and a community’s quality of life. I am thankful that the WPD has such quality individuals working in our ranks that can make operations like this a success. I also continue to be appreciative of the residents who continue to work with us by providing valuable information and support,” said Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger.

“There is no doubt that during Operation Back to Basics, impacts were seen and felt throughout the target area. We certainly hope to continue these types of operations in the future.”

In its after-action report, police determined several people who were taking part in the illegal activities were previously arrested and were immediately released on bond. Officers believe this is causing a direct impact on the quality-of-life issues that are affecting the citizens in and around the City of Wheeling.

Of the nearly three dozen individuals arrested, 8 were immediately released on a personal recognizance bond, 9 had active arrest warrants, 13 were living/visiting homeless encampments and 4 were currently out of jail and on bond from a previous criminal charge.


Officers working both operations also noted a significant increase in foot traffic and criminal activity in and around a homeless encampment located near the Ohio River shoreline of the I-470 Bridge.

Police also seized a large amount of illegal drugs during the two operations. The totals are:

  • 19.25 grams of methamphetamine
  • 4.8 grams of marijuana
  • 4.45 grams of cocaine
  • 3.5 grams of fentanyl
  • 0.8 grams of heroin
  • 1.5 pieces of buprenorphine
  • $5,323 in currency

Those arrested from both operations are:

  1. Anthony Lee Arms, 41 of Wheeling, WV
    -Two counts of Possession of Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine and Heroin)
  2. Connie Sue Ballard, 43 of Wheeling, WV
    -Capias warrant
  1. Paul Allan Bloomfield Sr., 60 of Wheeling, WV
    -Two counts of Possession of Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine and Fentanyl)
  2. Dashawn Tyli-Levelle Brown, 26 of Cleveland, OH
    -Possession of a Stolen Vehicle
  1. Ada Marie Canter, 33 of Wheeling, WV
    -Two counts of Possession of Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine and Buprenorphine)
  2. Herman Clemons Jr., 52 of Wheeling, WV
    -Possession of Controlled Substance (cocaine) and No Operators
  3. Christy Lynn Conner, 28 of Wheeling, WV
    -Two counts of Possession of Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine and Buprenorphine)
  4. Derwin Scott Conway, 42 of Wheeling, WV
    -Possession of Controlled Substance (Fentanyl)
  1. Anthony Michael Decapito, 27 of Mount Pleasant, OH
    -Capias warrant on original charges of two counts of Possession of Controlled Substance and Driving Suspended
  1. Erica Elaine Donaldson, 50 of Wheeling, WV
    -Obstructing and Trespassing
  1. Mandy Lynn Dunn, 47 of Wheeling, WV
    -Active felony warrant for Entering without Breaking
  1. William Earl-Dale Freeman, 37 of Wheeling, WV
    -Entering without Breaking (Auto), Eluding (Fleeing on Foot), and Domestic Battery (3rd Offense)
  1. James Richard Greathouse, 32 of Wheeling, WV
    -Possession of Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine) and Trespassing
  1. Savana Dawn Gwynn, 25 of Wheeling, WV
    -Trespassing
  1. Jason Allen Hall, 44 of Wheeling, WV
    -Cited for Possession of Fentanyl
  1. Christopher Cory Heckathorn, 36 of Wheeling, WV
    -Possession of Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine) and Trespassing
  1. David Arthur Hess, 59 of Wheeling, WV
    -Cited for Possession of Marijuana and Driving Suspended
  2. Ruby Lynn Holley, 42 of Wheeling, WV
    -Citation for Open Container
  3. Katherine Michelle Hooker, 31 of Wheeling, WV
    -Felony capias out of Brooke County, WV
  4. Ralph Ray Huggins, 45 of Wheeling, WV
    -Active felony warrant for Entering without Breaking
  1. Brandon Shane Losby, 49 of Wheeling, WV
    -Citation for Urinating in Public
  1. Justin Allen Miller, 29 of Wheeling, WV
    -Felony capias warrant for Reckless Fleeing, warrant for Petit Larceny out of Marshall County, WV, and new charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance
  1. Joseph Stephen Paree, 33 of Wheeling, WV
    -Felony capias warrant for Destruction of Property charge out of Ohio County, WV
  2. Derek Charles Rice, 30 of McMechen, WV
    -Active Capias (Possession of Controlled Substance) out of Marshall County, WV
  1. Cameron Smudski, 27 of Wheeling, WV
    -Active Burglary warrant out of Ohio County, WV
  1. Patrick Coleman Smudski, 34 of Wheeling, WV
    -Possession of Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine)
  2. Tyler Ray Snyder, 37 of Bethesda, OH
    -Citation for Possession of Controlled Substance (Fentanyl)
  1. Keith Allen Stepchuck, 36 of Wheeling, WV
    -Eluding (Fleeing on Foot) and Obstructing
  1. William Timmins, 46 of Wheeling, WV
    -Cited for Possession of Marijuana & Cocaine
  1. Gerald Blaine Vaughan, 38 of Triadelphia, WV
    -Circuit Court Felony Capias out of Ohio County, WV for Probation Violation
  1. Michael Christopher Williams, 36 of Benwood, WV
    -Possession of Controlled Substance
  1. Female Juvenile of Benwood, WV
    -Juvenile Pickup Order

*Note: Two individuals names (33 & 34) are not included due to pending investigations.