Anonymous Drug Tip Line: 740-695-DRUG (3784)

Press Releases

Belmont County’s Sheriff Office Initiates A Law Enforcement Exploring Program

Date: 09/25/2020
Contact: Sheriff David M. Lucas
Phone: 740/695-7933

Belmont County Sheriff David M. Lucas announced the implementation of a Law Enforcement Exploring Program in collaboration with the Ohio River Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”). The Sheriff’s Office will hold an Open House and Recruiting Event on October 6 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Sheriff’s Office substation located on the back side of the Ohio Valley Mall. Appropriate health precautions and social distancing will be in place. Law Enforcement Exploring Programs (“Explorers”) are a nationally recognized, hands-on program open to Belmont County young men and women who have completed the eighth grade and are at least 14 years old and under the age of 21 years, and have an interest in law enforcement or the criminal justice system. The program is designed to promote personal growth, character development, respect for the rule of law, physical fitness, good citizenship, patriotism, and interpersonal communication skills. These attributes are developed through training, practical experiences, mentoring, competition, and other activities.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Belmont County youth who meet the criteria and are admitted to the Explorer program to gain in-depth training, mentoring and hands-on experience in law enforcement and the criminal justice system while providing a meaningful service to this Office and Belmont County”, stated Sheriff Lucas. “The Explorer Program has been a goal of mine for quite some time and it is exciting to see it come to fruition”, according to Lucas. The Open House and Recruiting Event on October 6 will give interested youth and their parents an opportunity to learn more about what the Explorer Program has to offer. The program has submitted the documentation to become a recognized Post and has been assigned the Post number of 0007. A command structure for the program and the Post Committee has been put in place and includes Sheriff Lucas, Chief Deputy James Zusack, Lt. Glenn Moore, Assistant Jail Administrator Stanley Galownia, and Outreach Coordinators Sherri VanTassel and Taylore Frasnelly. Lucas noted that other Belmont County Sheriff’s Office (“BCSO”) staff will be assigned as needed for specific duties such as training or experiential learning.

Belmont County young men and women who are within the age range noted are invited to attend the Open House and Recruiting Event on October 6 from 5 – 8 p.m. to learn more about the program and training academy, and to meet representatives of various Divisions of BCSO. Interested youth can also go to the BSCO website, download and print an Explorer Application. Once completed, the application needs to be submitted to BCSO for review. Chosen applicants will be interviewed either via telephone during the need for COVID 19 precautions or in person as changes in restrictions permit. Applicants, in addition to the age restrictions, must also maintain a “C” average in school or complete at least 6 college credits per semester, and commit at least eight (8) hours of service to BCSO per month. Applicants will also undergo a background check. BCSO’s Explorer Academy is 7 (seven) weeks, one day a week for four (4) hours. Monthly meetings will also be held.

Sheriff Lucas notes that this has been a team effort, “Chief Zusack and Lt. Moore put the training outline together and aligned it with topics from the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy (“OPOTA”); the leadership of the BSA’s Ohio River Valley Council has been generous with their time and expertise to ensure the our office has the appropriate training, background checks and structure to support the Explorer Program; and BCSO’s Outreach Coordinators Sherri VanTassel and Taylore Frasnelly have pulled the materials together to support a thriving and successful Explorer Post. This is an exciting opportunity for Belmont County youth interested in careers in law enforcement and the criminal justice system.”

Halloween Press Release – Halloween Safety

Trick or Treats:

In groups of only four or five with a responsible adult, or teen accompanying each group.

With at least one person in the group carrying a flashlight in case it begins to get dark.

In your own neighborhood, on well-lighted streets. Only go to homes you know and that have porch lights on.

Safely by never entering a strangers house even if invited and never take a ride from a stranger.

Using sidewalks when possible. Walk! Never run across yards. Look both ways before crossing streets.


Never eat treats from trick-or-treating until they are examined by a parent.

Check wrappers of pre-packaged treats for signs of tampering and throw away anything unwrapped.

If harmful items are found, notify your local law enforcement agency.


Always know who is sponsoring the activity and how long it will last.

Older children may wish to help supervise instead of trick-or-treating.

Keep any paper decorations well away from heat or flames.

Have fun activities: Bobbing for apples, costume contests (most original, funniest, and scariest).


Wear comfortable street shoes. Avoid big, floppy shoes.

Trick-or-treat bays should have handles to keep arms free.

Bags should be easy to carry and should not drag on the ground.

Carry-along props should be made of Styrofoam or cardboard with no sharp points.

Hats, wigs, or beards should be secure and out of eyes.


Avoid encouraging children to enter a stranger’s house. Never invite trick-or-treaters into your home.

Give self-wrapped, homemade treats only to children you know, and wrapped commercial treats to others.

Know the supervising adult, which friends your children will be with, and exactly what route they will be taking.

Do not leave your home unattended on Halloween Night.

Leave a porch light on, so children will know its okay to visit your home.

Keep pets inside the house, garage, or shed.

Use flashlights or LED Candles in Jack-lanterns.

Trick-or-Treat Safety Tips

Belmont County Sheriff’s Office: OffenderWatch® a sex offender mapping and alerting service aids citizens in avoiding dangerous homes.

In Belmont County, there are approximately 136 registered sex offenders, and we want you to know where they reside so that you avoid those houses when trick-or-treating. “We do the best we can in making sure sex offenders live where they tell us, so it is crucial that our citizens visit our website:, to see who the registered sex offenders are an where they are living.” says Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas. Citizens are encouraged to check any addresses where they or family spend time. Sheriff Lucas says “The mapping and address feature found on the website pinpoints exactly where an offender lives.”

You will also find may other beneficial tools such as the ability to sign up for FREE automatic email notifications informing you if an offender moves within a specified radius of any address you register. “If you aren’t planning on trick-or-treating in your neighborhood, but will be in a family or friend’s neighborhood, register their address beforehand so you know which houses to avoid. You can register any and all of the addresses where your children spend a lot of time: for example friend’s grandparent’s or babysitter’s addresses” says Sheriff Lucas. The alerts are in real-time and sent out via e-mail as soon as a new offender has registered with the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Lucas says “The benefit of registering for this free confidential e-mail alert service is that it allows us to monitor your important addresses for you, thereby keeping you up to date of newly registered offenders and making it unnecessary for you to have to check your important addresses daily or even weekly.”

The website for the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office is Citizens should click on the link “Sex Offender Registry Search” on the right hand side under “Links” and follow the instructions to check their neighborhood and sign up to receive FREE e-mails alerts.

Sheriff Lucas encourages everyone to have a fun and safe Halloween. Knowledge is power and knowing where the registered sex offenders reside in your area can help you make the best choices for safe and enjoyable Halloween activities.

For further information, please call the Sergeant Glenn Moore with the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office at 740-695-7933 ext. 134.

Press Release: 10/14/2014

On 10/09/14 a Search Warrant was executed at 71319 Skyview Drive Martins Ferry OH by The Belmont County Sheriff’s Office, Bridgeport Police Department and Agents of the Belmont County Drug Task Force.

John E Gavarkavich of the above address was arrested on warrants for 2 counts of illegal possessing of drug documents and two counts of forgery.

John E Gavarkavich was later charged with two counts of Aggravated Robbery Felony one in conjunction with the armed robbery of the Hilltop Marathon and the Bridgeport Exxon that occurred on 10/07/14. Gavarkavich is being held at the Belmont County Jail with No Bond.

Gavarkavich became a suspect in the robberies after a Sheriff’s Detective who was familiar with Gavarkavich viewed security footage of the incident.

The Belmont County Sheriff’s Office and Bridgeport Police Department worked this case together after determining the similarities between the two Robberies.

Press Release: Phone Scam

To: All Media
From: Sheriff David M. Lucas
RE: Scam

The Belmont County Sheriff’s Office has received several calls from residence on a phone scam requesting their Credit Card information. The pre-recorded message states your credit card has been canceled to push one for security and then enter you credit card number.

This is a scam. Do not enter any information

Sheriff David M. Lucas

Road Advisory
There are currently no road advisories for Belmont County.
Crime Stoppers

The tip line may exclusively be reached at 877-847-7487.

Tips will NOT be accepted through social media, websites or email in order to ensure confidentiality.

The Crime Stoppers of the Upper Ohio Valley website is

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