CAMPBELL, Ohio (WKBN) – The exchange between a Campbell man and police started calmly enough.
But earlier on Tuesday, a neighbor told police the man starting throwing garbage out his windows at her car. He had been stockpiling materials to make bombs and was making threats, she said.
It was this report that led to the shutdown of the streets and a forced entry by police.
Now, that man — John Ference, 29 — is facing serious charges for the stand off, which lasted several hours at his home at 436 Sanderson Ave. on Tuesday.
Neighbors said the episode had started several weeks ago, when Ference stole a postal truck and drove it home.
“He was getting real bad this last month, not talking, walking around, incoherent,” said neighbor Mary Jo Paris.
Campbell Police said, when confronted by officers investigating the incident, Ference locked himself in his home to avoid police.
Officers eventually forced their way into the house, sprayed tear gas and arrested Ference. He was charged with criminal mischief, criminal damaging, obstructing official business, resisting arrest and aggravated menacing against a police officer, according to Campbell Police Chief Drew Rauzan.
Inside the home, police found a troubling sight.
The home had no running water, no food for people, and three dogs were found inside the home, which was condemned by the City of Campbell for the unsanitary conditions. The dogs were taken to Animal Charities.
WKBN was able to view the home, which was covered with garbage and filth. The home had no electricity and very little furniture.
Due to the nature of the incident, Rauzan said Ference will be carefully watched at the county jail. Police said Ference has a long arrest record, as well as a history of mental illness
Police said the situation could have been much worse, however.
“This is a classic, a very, very minor neighbor incident that escalated because the suspect made a series of poor choice after poor choice,” Rauzan said.
Neighbors said they hope Ference gets the help he needs.