Courtesy of OSU Police
A Deputy U.S. Marshal said Thursday the U.S. Marshals Service is pursuing the fugitive who was spotted in the campus area Tuesday.
A Facebook account that appears to belong to the wanted man, Bigggggg Mike, whose real name is Michael Moses Tarpeh, messaged The Lantern just after noon Thursday.
“I don’t hurt peple (sic) I just empty they pockets..swag lol,” he said from the account.
Tarpeh, who is wanted in three states, was spotted at Fourth Street Bar and Grill Tuesday night. While he was there, he was photographed with Ohio State rifle athlete and Olympian Amanda Furrer. By Wednesday night, police were on his trail.
“We don’t have any reason to think that he left the area, but at the same time we don’t have any information to (indicate) that he’s still here, so we’re continuing to follow all the tips to an extent,” said Brad Fleming, Deputy U.S. Marshal at the U.S. Marshals Service for the Southern District of Ohio.
A Twitter account appearing to belong to Tarpeh tweeted several messages Thursday afternoon, including “Who Credit cards am I stealing tonight?? #yolo,” and “The osu police doe (sic)?? lmao that’s like LeBron vs a fan they have no chance against me.”
University Police issued a public safety notice Wednesday evening informing the campus community that Michael Moses Tarpeh was a “dangerous wanted person who may be in the campus area.”
Tarpeh is wanted by the Morgantown, W. Va., Police Department for aggravated assault and attempted sexual assault. The Massachusetts State Police also wants Tarpeh for an armed carjacking, robbery and assault and battery of a motorist in Lee, Mass.
The University of Connecticut Police Department has warrants pending for Tarpeh’s arrest as well. The department sent out a similar safety advisory on Saturday warning students of a credit card theft that had occurred in an on-campus apartment in Storrs, Conn.
“The suspect (Michael Moses Tarpeh) was invited into the on-campus apartment and then stole several items when the residents of the apartment were asleep. The victims did not know the suspect,” the email said.
The advisory mentioned that Tarpeh is not a UConn student. It also said that Tarpeh’s last known address was in Virginia and his last known location at the time was Waterbury, Conn.
Fleming said the West Virginia U.S. Marshals Service contacted his office when they had reason to believe that Tarpeh was heading toward central Ohio.
“We’re acting as a coordinating agency between the Marshal Service in West Virginia and the state and local agencies here,” Fleming said. “We’re getting copied on tips. Some of the tips are going directly to the Columbus Police Department, who handled the case much (of Wednesday) night.”
Furrer, a senior member of OSU’s rifle team, saw Tarpeh at Fourth Street Tuesday night, and the moment was captured on camera.
“I don’t know him or have a connection with him, it was a fan picture because he found out I was in the Olympics and it happened to lead police in the right direction,” Furrer said in an email. “He was just excited about me being an Olympian.”
Furrer said when she met Tarpeh, she thought he was just another guy out enjoying his night. When she found out he was wanted in three states, she was uncomfortable.
“You never know who people are,” she said. “The nicest person is capable of anything.”
Representatives from OSU Police and from OSU’s athletic department referred The Lantern to the U.S. Marshals Service.
Fleming said Tarpeh’s prosecution would be handled by the individual jurisdictions in which he committed the offenses.
Interstate fugitive cases are not rare, Fleming said, and his agency often has to tread into the campus waters.
“We do often have interstate cases where we’re not necessarily the originating agency but we’ll work that fugitive investigation when its in our area … specifically the Columbus area and southeast part of the state,” he said. “From time to time we’ll have fugitive investigations that will lead us to or near campus, either for apprehension or information gathering.”
Twenty-three-year-old Tarpeh uses the alias Michael Moses Boadi. He weighs about 280 pounds and is about 6 feet tall, according to the notice.
Tarpeh is not an OSU student.
The case will not let up, Fleming said.
“Any tips that we can get are greatly appreciated,” he said. “We’ll continue this investigation through till the end.”
Liz Young contributed to this article.