“At some point, he’s got to be put away”: Tuscarawas County Sheriff details arrest of wanted fugitive

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A man with a Canton address who has been hiding from Tuscarawas County law enforcement officials has been apprehended.

Much of Tuscarawas County and surrounding areas have been on edge as police comb the area this week looking for Josh Houston, a fugitive wanted for stealing a car from Stark County and taking authorities on a pursuit in Tuscarawas County.

Houston was arrested Thursday morning right outside of New Philadelphia on Stone Creek Road near the intersection of Crooked Run Road, which was not far from where the pursuit occurred Tuesday night.

“We’ve had a lot of patrol in the area and a lot of unmarked cars placed hoping he would come out,” Sheriff Orvis Campbell noted. “He came from somewhere and was seen walking on the road.”

Sheriff Campbell credits the arrest of Houston much in part to the community keeping their eyes open.

“We had a nice individual call in who said he felt he was suspicious and was walking with his head down so no one could see his face,” he said. “We had deputies close, so they responded.”

When Houston was approached by responding deputies, he initially provided incorrect identification, but the physical description matched, and he eventually admitted to being Josh Houston. He was taken into custody without incident. He was not armed with any weapons, according to Sheriff Campbell.

After the Tuesday night pursuit, Sheriff Campbell issued a warning that Houston should be considered dangerous especially if he felt cornered.

“It’s not that we had any reason to believe that he would harm anyone, but we knew he was desperate and had all intentions to escape,” Campbell said. “We had learned he had fled from other authorities, including the U.S. Marshals, on other occasions.”

Sheriff Campbell said he expects charges to be filed for the pursuit and he’ll have to answer for warrants against him in other counties.

“He claimed that he would not go back to prison, but obviously we beg to differ,” Sheriff Campbell added.

Houston is a life-long criminal, including drugs, robbery, burglary, thefts, etc.

“I’m aware that he has serious convictions on his record,” the sheriff noted. “I think with his history of running, he’s put people at very serious risk by fleeing. At some point, he’s got to be put away where he can’t hurt people whether it’s intentional or unintentional, it doesn’t really matter to me. I’m all for treating people with addiction but not at the risk of hurting others.”

The car that Houston stole was a black Volkswagen Beetle parked at a gas station in Canton Township on Raff Road on Oct. 12.

When law enforcement officials pursued him on Oct. 17, he took off and drove the car into the woods before jumping out and fleeing the scene. After a two day search for him, he was arrested.

Witnesses told JMN that Houston had been seen in the Minerva area, hours before the pursuit, stealing full gas cans from a garage in the Volkswagen Beetle. When confronted by the homeowners, he took the cans and left. It was hours later that Houston took law enforcement on a chase.