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YOUNGSTOWN Three arrested in gang rape



Published: Wed, August 22, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Police spotted the suspects' car at Dairy Mart on the West Side and followed it. The driver got away.

By PATRICIA MEADE

VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A 21-year-old Boardman woman who showed up crying and incoherent at St. Elizabeth Health Center told police she had been abducted at gunpoint and gang-raped.

As of this morning, police had two South Side men in custody. Another suspect, a 15-year-old boy, also from the South Side, was at the juvenile justice center. A fourth suspect ran from police.

At 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, after Patrolwoman Colleen Lynch interviewed the bruised victim at the hospital, she broadcast a description of the suspects' car over the police radio.

After the rape -- which happened on a side street off Market Street -- the victim drove to a place on Western Reserve Road in Poland where she knew her boyfriend's parents would be and was taken to the hospital from there.

At 11:50 p.m., the car, a black 1980 Pontiac Grand Prix, was spotted at the Dairy Mart on Mahoning Avenue by Patrolman Anthony Vitullo, who followed it to a house in the 300 block of Edwards Street.

The car pulled behind the house. By the time Vitullo arrived, the driver had fled, but the passengers were still in the car.

Backup officers arrived, including Patrolman Steve Schiffhauer and his dog Rico, who started to track the driver's scent.

Belongings found: Items belonging to the victim -- her brown purse, a shopping bag with jeans, hair clip, a blue jean skirt, shirt, blue and gray tennis shoes and sales receipt -- were found in the car. Police determined that a .38-caliber handgun found in the bag was not hers.

Behind the driver's seat, police found a black mask and a towel possibly stained with blood. Ammunition was found in the glove compartment and suspected crack cocaine was found outside the rear passenger door.

Crime lab officers took photographs of the suspects' car.

Later, during a pat-down search of one suspect at the police station downtown, a pink watch was found in his pocket and he admitted to police that it belonged to the victim, police reports show.

The juvenile had a scrap of paper in his pants with the victim's name on it.

Abduction: The victim said that at 10:20 p.m. Tuesday, she had pulled into a driveway on Detroit Avenue where she works and, as she opened the trunk, a man approached and put a gun to her head. When she told him she had no money, he ordered her back into her car and took the keys, Lynch said in her report.

The victim's car was driven to an unidentified spot off Market where the gang rape took place. One or possibly two men who had followed in the black Grand Prix went through her car's trunk and glove compartment, reports show.

The victim told police that when it was over, the suspect who had driven her car fired a shot into the air and then put the gun into her mouth but said he wasn't going to shoot her.

The suspects left in the black Grand Prix.

meade@vindy.com




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