James M. Phillips - Putnam Sentinel
James M. Phillips

COLUMBUS GROVE — This past Saturday, November 2, 2019, James M. Phillips reportedly abducted Columbus Grove resident Addie Kiene just outside the Dollar General store in the Village of Columbus Grove. Ms. Kiene, much to her credit, was able to convince Mr. Phillips to release her along St. Rte. 65 between Columbus Grove and Ottawa. A multi-county search has been underway since then.

Now, that search has ended. Today, November 5, Mr. Phillips turned himself into the Lucas County Sheriff's Office. Once processed, he will be transferred to Putnam County for questioning.

The ordeal began, according to a press release issued by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, on November 2, 2019 at 8:31 p.m. That's when the sheriff’s office received a call regarding an armed robbery that took place outside the Dollar General store in the Village of Columbus Grove at 723 S. Main St. A male, later identified as Mr. Phillips, allegedly abducted Ms. Kiene by gunpoint and made her drive him towards Ottawa in her red 2013 Hyundai Souota, bearing Ohio registration: HAS4067. The car has still not been located.

Mr. Phillips immediately took Ms. Kiene’s cell phone, according to reports, and demanded an undisclosed amount of cash from her. While driving towards Ottawa, Mr. Phillips threw Ms. Kiene’s phone out of the vehicle’s window. Ms. Kiene was then able to convince Mr. Phillips to release her.

Ms. Kiene pulled over onto Road 9-K, got out, and Mr. Phillips sped away with her vehicle. Ms. Kiene then flagged down a passerby on St. Rte. 65 who assisted her in contacting the sheriff’s office.

Law enforcement continues to piece together the series of events leading to Ms. Kiene’s abduction. Unconfirmed reports indicate that Mr. Phillips left a drug rehabilitation facility in St Mary’s and was transported by an Auglaize County Deputy to a truck stop in the Cridersville area.

Near that same time, a home burglary reportedly occurred in Bath Township and a gun was among the items believed to have been stolen. Police officials do not yet know if the burglary is related to this incident, nor if this was the gun used when Ms. Kiene was abducted. Investigations remain ongoing.

After law enforcement spoke with a member of Mr. Phillips’ family, and received other information, they had reason to believe that Mr. Phillips was in the Toledo area. He was considered armed and dangerous.

When speaking with Sheriff Brian Siefker prior to Mr. Phillips turning himself in, he could not recall a similar incident of alleged abduction occurring recently in the county. During a robbery in Leipsic this past May, three individuals were briefly held at gunpoint, but none abducted from the scene of the crime. When asked what people could do to protect themselves from a similar incident, Sheriff Siefker says that people should be aware of their surroundings, and possibly consider carrying pepper spray or pursuing a concealed carry license.

Regarding Ms. Kiene, Sheriff Siefker said, “She did everything that she could. She did everything right.”