CALCUTTA - Three men were charged by St. Clair Township Police with "huffing" in the past three weeks, according to Chief Don Hyatt, referring to inhaling a substance to get high.
The first incident was on March 26 when officers were dispatched to Taco Bell for a man who reportedly drank something in the restroom and was acting suspiciously.
Found in the restroom by employees were a liquid substance that smelled badly and a straw, police reported.
The man, later identified as Kenneath R. Bolles, 19, Bradenton, Fla., was found behind a nearby pizza shop, smoking and talking on a cell phone. He reportedly told police he was in the area filling out applications.
After he consented to be searched, police reported finding three cans of brake cleaner in his backpack, one missing a cap and small red straw. Bolles initially told officers he was going to work on his car but later admitted to huffing fumes from the cans of brake cleaner.
He was charged with abusing harmful intoxicants and transported to the police station, with officers saying they had to keep the cruiser window down the entire way due to the strong smell of brake cleaner emanating from Bolles.
A North Star ambulance crew was called after Bolles appeared to be ill but he refused treatment. He reportedly told officers, "In Florida, when you're stopped for something like this, they don't even bother with it, they just cite you and call you a cab," and the officer reported he advised Bolles Ohio laws are different.
Last Thursday, police charged Jeffrey J. Bryan, 50, Boca Raton, Fla. and Steven C. Schneider, 34, Market Street, East Liverpool, with abusing harmful intoxicants in two separate incidents.
After being dispatched to Aaron's Rental in the Walmart Plaza for a man passed out, officers reported finding Schneider lying in the parking lot on his back with three cans of dust cleaner around him, apparently passed out.
As the officer walked toward him, Schneider reportedly put a can of the cleaner to his nose and began to sniff, and the officer knocked it from his hand and tried to handcuff him.
When Schneider resisted, other officers arrived and a stun gun was used several times to make him comply.
Lifeteam ambulance responded and checked out Schneider, who was not transported to the hospital. He told officers he did the same thing the previous week in East Liverpool and was transported to the hospital but not charged.
In the third case, officers were called to Walmart for a man inhaling the contents of an aerosol can, and they reported finding Bryan in a disoriented state with a can of industrial strength dust spray in his lap. He was reportedly unable to speak when officers opened the door to his vehicle.
In addition to the charge of abusing harmful intoxicants, Bryan had an outstanding warrant.
Hyatt attributed the rash of huffing cases to the economy, saying, "Nobody has any money," indicating the aerosol products are less expensive than traditional types of drugs.