THORNVILLE — The United States Marshals arrested Keith Robertson on July 25. The suspect was sought in connection with a manhunt in Buckeye Lake.

Robertson was wanted by the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office for an alleged probation violation and the Ohio Adult Parole Authority for a parole violation. The warrant for his arrest was issued on Dec. 5, 2018 and the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office sent their information regarding the warrant for Robertson to the U.S. Marshals on Dec. 16.

In similar cases involving wanted fugitives, the U.S. Marshals partner with local law enforcement agencies if the wanted individual is outside the local law enforcement’s jurisdiction. The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office has a deputy who is a part of the SOFAST strike team and reached out to them for help.

The United States Marshals Service Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (SOFAST) previously attempted to apprehend Robertson the prior day in the Buckeye Lake area. Robertson fled on foot from authorities, which prompted an all-day manhunt in the area.

SOFAST received multiple tips from the general public about the whereabouts of Robertson after he was featured in local media outlets. The strike team then located and arrested Robertson the morning of July 25 at a home located on Lakeview Drive in the Village of Thornville.

U.S. Marshal Pete Tobin was quoted as stating that the arrest of Robertson was a “truly a team effort” by the public, local media and law enforcement. He thanked all of those who reside in the Buckeye Lake area who gave tips to the agency. He also thanked law enforcement agencies who assisted in the “search and apprehension of the fugitive.”

The strike team, during the manhunt, was assisted by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, Perry County Sheriff’s Office and Licking County Sheriff’s Office.

SOFAST is primarily a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement organization and was founded to arrest the most violent felons in the Southern District of Ohio, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. The strike teams are located in Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati. SOFAST is made up of agents, deputies and officers from various federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

SOFAST identifies and pursues fugitives who have a history of violent crimes. Its goal is to arrest violent offenders while also gaining the trust and cooperation of local residents to help hinder violence stemming from gangs, drugs and guns.

The U.S. Marshals Service-led task force consists of local, state and federal authorities. They include Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Columbus Division of Police, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Morrow County Sheriff’s Office, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Mount Vernon Police Department, Lancaster Police Department, Delaware County Probation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, United States Secret Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Anyone with information regarding a fugitive can send an anonymous tip to the U.S. Marshals by texting the keyword SOFAST and their message to 847411 (tip411). Contacting the agency this way will create an anonymous, two-way conversation between the person who gave the tip and the U.S. Marshals. Residents may also send tips via the web and can be submitted through the U.S. Marshals’ website at the web address www.usmarshals.gov/district/oh-s/.

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Aleksei Pavloff is a Perry County Tribune reporter

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