AKRON, Ohio – The sharp eye and quick thinking of an Akron Police officer gets a violent man off the street, who is accused of kidnapping and robbing an elderly couple at gunpoint less than an hour before.
Online court records show Dewand Hammett, 33, has been to prison before for crimes against the elderly in Miami, Florida.
Police said Friday morning he targeted an elderly couple in Akron.
"The couple was in their 70s and they were really shaken up by this," Ofc. Howard Vaughn, Jr. said.
Akron police said the husband and wife, both 74, were sitting outside about 8:30 a.m. at their home on North Firestone Blvd.
"Basically, just taking in some sunshine and sitting in lawn chairs in their garage, enjoying each other," Vaughn said.
Police believe Hammett spotted the couple from the park across the street, snuck up on them and ambushed them. They say he forced them into their home at gunpoint, and threatened to kill them if they didn't hand over the elderly woman's jewelry, including her wedding ring.
Police said Hammett then stole their van and drove off.
He got away, but not for long.
"I just believe it was God's intervention," Vaughn said.
Officer Howard Vaughn, Jr. said he heard the APB about the stolen red van on the other side of town.
Vaughn was on a side street, many miles away from the crime, leaving another call when he glanced into a parking lot, and saw the van--it was like finding a needle in a haystack.
Vaughn said as officers descend on-scene, Hammett looked out of the door of one of the apartments.
It was all over.
"We were also able to recover all of the elderly couple's items, wedding rings, money other types of jewelry and also we recovered the gun that was used," Vaughn said.
"I can honestly say if it wasn't for the hard work and diligence of Howard Vaughn, he could have easily gotten away with this," Cpt. Daniel Zampelli said.
Hammett is charged with aggravated robbery, kidnapping and being a felon with a gun.