NORTH RIDGEVILLE — An Elyria police officer was asked Tuesday to help Avon police and the FBI pull over a wanted man’s SUV as it drove down Cleveland Street, crossing over onto Center Ridge Road in North Ridgeville before it was stopped.
The Elyria officer and an FBI agent tailing the SUV then conducted a felony traffic stop and took the man into custody, according to police reports.
The target of an Avon police criminal investigation, 28-year-old Austyn Keaton, of Lorain, is charged with telecommunications fraud and unauthorized use of property. His initial court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday in Avon Lake Municipal Court. As of Wednesday, he was being held in Lorain County Jail without bond.
Avon police said in a news release that Keaton’s arrest was part of an ongoing investigation in which the FBI assisted, due to the agency’s cybercrime expertise.
An Elyria police report provided more information about that department’s involvement. At 3:50 p.m. Tuesday, an Elyria officer and an FBI agent placed Keaton under arrest on the Avon police warrant. Elyria police were called to assist Avon police and the FBI, who were following Keaton’s Ford Excursion in unmarked vehicles.
The Elyria officer, driving a marked cruiser, found the SUV on Cleveland Street and attempted a traffic stop at the railroad tracks on the Elyria-North Ridgeville line as an FBI agent followed in an unmarked car. Keaton continued east on Cleveland Street, and appeared to reach under the driver’s side seat while still in motion, according to the Elyria police report.
Keaton then pulled his SUV into the Cobblestone Corner plaza parking lot in the 39000 block of Center Ridge Road, was ordered out of the vehicle by the Elyria officer and the FBI agent, placed in handcuffs and arrested without incident, according to Elyria police. An Avon police officer then took custody of Keaton.
Keaton’s prior criminal record includes charges of having weapons under disability, tampering with records, intimidation, theft and resisting arrest, according to the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office. He was convicted in March 2015 of intimidation, a third-degree felony, and driving under suspension, a first-degree misdemeanor, and sentenced to 45 days in Lorain County Jail and three years probation.
Another 2015 case involving weapons, records tampering and theft charges in Lorain County Common Pleas Court ended with a guilty plea to two misdemeanors — prohibited acts involving certificate and theft — and a sentence of 180 days in jail and $350 in fines, with all the jail time and the fine suspended on the conditions Keaton pay $600 restitution to the victim within six months and remain on good behavior for one year, according to court records.
In November, Keaton was arrested after his SUV was pulled over by Elyria police on state Route 57 after witnesses reported it weaving in its lanes and police clocked it doing 92 mph in a 50 mph zone. Keaton refused to get into a patrol car and it required multiple officers to take him into custody, leading to charges of reckless operation and resisting arrest, according to police reports.