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LAKE MILTON Man arrested in theft of audio equipment



Published: Wed, July 25, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Youngstown man confessed to vandalism and theft charges.

By JoANNE VIVIANO

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

LAKE MILTON -- Tom Baclawski shook his head Tuesday as he looked at the empty wall of his office that was once lined with a library of about 20,000 compact disks.

"Who would think we'd get robbed in the middle of Lake Milton?" said the owner of the Never Quit Interactive Inc. entertainment and disc jockey service.

The CDs disappeared May 3, the work of thieves who burglarized and vandalized the business in the Lake Shore Plaza on Mahoning Avenue.

Milton Township police arrested a 22-year-old man Monday accused of being one of two who stole at least $90,000 in CDs, computers and stereo equipment.

John Sherfel, of Cooper Street, Youngstown, is being held in Mahoning County Jail on $10,500 bail pending arraignment Thursday in county court in Austintown.

He faces charges of theft, vandalism and breaking and entering.

Baclawski, a native who returned to the area after spending three years in Los Angeles, add ed an alarm system immediately after the break-in.

"You feel violated after that," he said.

Tip: Police received a tip leading them to Sherfel, said Detective Harold Johnson. When it was discovered that Sherfel was wanted for failing to appear in court in a motor vehicle case, deputies arrested him. Johnson said Sherfel confessed.

Milton and Youngstown police and task force officers searched Sherfel's residence, finding about one-third of the stolen items in a garage and bedroom. Recovered were CDs, disk burners, computer equipment, stereo equipment and a fog machine. Johnson said friends of Sherfel removed other items before police got there.

He said a second man is being sought and five more are being investigated for possible roles in the case.

Busy season: Baclawski said the robbery happened when his company was preparing to expand and at the start of a busy season.

Besides performing 30 shows weekly at local clubs, the company entertains at weddings, graduations, corporate events and other parties.

During the past months, disc jockeys have borrowed equipment from partner services across the state.

Baclawski said his company likely lost money because some pending reservations were never pursued. Also, he said, expansion efforts were thwarted. Instead of branching into six cities, he and a partner were able to open only three new locations.

He said the most valuable loss was his music library, which he has been collecting for 15 years. Many of the CDs, he said, are rare, imported and irreplaceable.

"It hurt," he said. " ... Music is my life."

viviano@vindy.com




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