Woman on dating site credited with alerting police to whereabouts of coach on the run
DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - After being on the run for 45 days, a former Germantown soccer coach convicted of sex crimes against a minor, is back in police custody.
Justin Smith was taken into custody by the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office Friday evening.
Smith had been on the run after slipping his ankle monitoring bracelet during his trial on Halloween. Since then he's been on the run and law enforcement were hot on his trail, "he was always a little bit ahead of us," Montgomery County Chief Deputy Rob Streck said the morning after Smith's arrest.
It was a dating site that ultimately led to Smith's arrest. Streck said a woman was supposed to be meeting up with Smith for a date in Florida, but before she did, she looked him up on the internet and found out who he was and called police.
It's believed Smith had been in Florida for a little while and possibly had plans to stay there, "He was on a dating site," Streck said, "so it didn't seem like he was planning on going anywhere right away."
Streck said law enforcement all along the East Coast had been helping local deputies in the search, "the resources that went into this are crazy." Ultimately, Smith was take into custody without incident. When asked how he was on the run for so long, Streck said it appeared Smith was doing all he could to stay under the radar, "He had a backpack full of cash money and about 4 cellphones on him. So as he was traveling he was using cash, trying to stay off the grid, stay off the radar and just moving to wherever he was intending to go."
Smith will likely have an extradition hearing on Monday to be brought back to Montgomery County. Streck said he's glad the search has come to an end and knows people here in the Miami Valley are relieved Smith is in police custody. "We're just glad that we can finally get him back to Montgomery County and he can answer to the charges that he's been found guilty of."