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STRUTHERS Councilman defends questions



Published: Tue, November 13, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The victim originally listed a councilman as a suspect.

By PAUL WHEATLEY

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

STRUTHERS -- Councilman Daniel Yemma insists he's not on a witch hunt.

Instead, Yemma said he's questioning the police department investigation of a May 27 burglary at the home of his girlfriend, Regina Romeo, to avert future police problems.

"At best this investigation was not aggressive enough," he said. "At worst it was inept. If I bruise a few egos, so be it. There's nothing I can do about that."

During a council police and fire meeting last week, Yemma said police never interviewed Romeo's Como Street neighbors or her ex-husband Michael J. Romeo, whom she listed as a main suspect in the case.

Romeo, 38, of Campbell was indicted by a Mahoning County grand jury in relation to the case in August on three counts of receiving stolen property and three counts of forgery. A trial date has not been set.

Other complaints: Yemma said his other gripes are:

U Struthers investigators never spoke with Campbell police about the matter even though Struthers detectives reportedly told Regina Romeo they would contact the Campbell police.

U A Struthers detective reportedly told Regina Romeo that Carol Clemente Wagner, city prosecutor, said she didn't have enough evidence to prosecute anyone. But during the committee meeting, Wagner said she was never contacted about the case.

In the police report, Regina Romeo said someone broke through the door of her home and left with her purse, $20, three credit cards and a book of checks. She originally said Yemma was a suspect before listing her ex-husband

Yemma said he cleared his name with police the morning of the burglary.

Responses: Detective Simone Ugolini can't comment much on the case, which he confirmed is still open, but he disputes some of Yemma's claims."I personally interviewed [Michael] Romeo at the Campbell City Jail," said Ugolini, who mentioned the interview took place while Romeo was under arrest for unrelated incidents.

Ugolini also said door-to-door interviews weren't a feasible part of the investigation since the crime occurred in the early morning.

Mayor Dan Mamula previously said he has not conducted an official investigation, but he thinks the case is being handled appropriately. He plans to further analyze the matter when the case is closed.

"If there was a failure to perform, they will be reprimanded," Mamula said of police investigators.

Police Chief Bob Norris would not comment on the investigation.

But Yemma said he has discussed the investigation with detectives and the chief.

"After I talked to the police chief personally, I was satisfied that he admitted that there were some things that could have been done better," Yemma said.

wheatley@vindy.com




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