FBI Cleveland
Public Affairs Officer Susan Licate
July 29, 2020

Arrest Announced in Ongoing Operation Legend

The Cleveland Division of the FBI’s Violent Crime Task Force, along with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, and Operation Legend partners, announce the arrest of James Belle III, 23 years of age.

On June 22, 2020, an individual was picking up her curbside grocery order from Eastgate Plaza, in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, when an unknown male leaned into her passenger side window and brandished a gray semi-auto pistol. The unknown male stated, “If you touch the gas pedal, I’ll shoot you.” The victim hurriedly got out of her vehicle and the unknown male sped off in her vehicle.

An investigation conducted by the Mayfield Heights Police Department identified James Belle III as the suspect. DNA obtained from a “Black N Mild” cigar plastic tip that had been recovered from inside the stolen vehicle confirmed Belle as the suspect.

On July 20, 2020, Mayfield Heights Police Department and members of the FBI’s Violent Crime Task Force executed a local arrest warrant for James Belle III. Upon execution of the arrest warrant, Belle was observed breaking out the screens of multiple windows on a second floor home located on Union Avenue. Law enforcement and Belle’s family members convinced him to return to the home and cooperate with law enforcement. Belle was taken into custody.

On July 28, 2020, a federal arrest warrant was obtained and executed the morning of July 29, 2020 transferring Belle into federal custody. Belle has been charged with possessing a firearm and taking a motor vehicle that has been transported, shipped, or received in interstate or foreign commerce from the person or presence of another by force and violence. Belle also possessed and brandished a firearm during a crime of violence.

A complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

For questions regarding this press release, please contact SA Vicki Anderson at 216-522-1400 or at vagregg@fbi.gov.