Courtesy of OSU Police
Wanted in several states and fleeing west, the man who calls himself Bigggggg Mike, was finally arrested in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Tuesday – while allegedly attempting to steal gas to fuel the stolen car he was driving.
“Bigggggg Mike’s in custody,” said Brad Fleming, Deputy U.S. Marshal at the U.S. Marshals Service for the Southern District of Ohio. “He was arrested (Tuesday), he’s in custody now in Iowa.”
The 23-year-old Michael Moses Tarpeh was wanted in three states, and when he came to the Ohio State campus area last week, several more law enforcement agencies joined the manhunt.
The Iowa State Patrol apprehended Tarpeh after he allegedly attempted to steal gas near Council Bluffs, Iowa, according to a press release from the U.S. Marshal Service. The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office in Iowa has him in custody.
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., according to the original OSU public safety notification. He was also wanted by the Troy City (New York) Police Department for robbery and grand larceny, according to the U.S. Marshal Service press release.
Tarpeh’s last known location before arrest was near OSU’s campus.
After Tarpeh was spotted at Fourth Street Bar and Grill Feb. 26, University Police issued a public safety notice the evening of Feb. 27 informing the campus community that Tarpeh was a “dangerous wanted person who may be in the campus area.”
OSU rifle athlete and Olympian Amanda Furrer saw Tarpeh at Fourth Street the night of Feb. 26, 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.”
A Facebook account that appears to belong to Tarpeh, messaged The Lantern Feb. 28.
“I don’t hurt peple (sic) I just empty they pockets..swag lol,” he said from the account.
Since then, a Twitter account that appears to be Tarpeh’s has been tweeting about being on OSU’s campus and going back to places such as Fourth Street.
“Everyone was following him on Twitter,” said Katie David, a second-year in engineering. “It was hilarious.”
David, who lives in Residence on 10th, said that in addition to the public safety announcement, there were signs posted in her building warning to students to be aware of their safety.
The University of Connecticut Police Department has warrants pending for Tarpeh’s arrest as well. The department sent out a similar safety advisory on last week warning students of a credit card theft that had occurred in an on-campus apartment in Storrs, Conn.
Erik Herchek, a first-year in business, said he was never too concerned for his safety, but the public safety alert added a level of comfort.
“It’s good to see they finally caught him,” he said. “I thought the tweets were really funny about him, but it’s good to know he’s behind bars.”
Fleming said that Tarpeh will be taken back to the jurisdictions in which he’s charged and didn’t think Tarpeh would be making another stop in Ohio.
“I don’t know of any charges pending here,” Fleming said.
Liz Young contributed to this story.