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YOUNGSTOWN Man pleads guilty in mail-stealing case



Published: Thu, February 7, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Prosecutors are recommending a two-year prison sentence for Robert Reed.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- An East Palestine man who stole mail from the Canfield post office last year did it to support his drug habit, his lawyer said.

Robert Reed, 27, of East Clark Street, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to one charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Judge Maureen A. Cronin delayed sentencing until completion of a background check. Reed faces two to eight years in prison and a $15,000 fine, or he could be placed on probation for up to five years, the judge said.

As part of a plea agreement, the county prosecutor's office recommended a two-year prison sentence.

Assistant Prosecutor Jay Macejko said Reed reached into a mail slot at the post office and pulled handfuls of mail from a mail bag. Many of the pieces of mail contained checks or credit cards.

Reed cashed the checks, which totaled "several hundred dollars," and used the credit cards to make some $3,500 to $4,000 worth of purchases, mostly at Wal-Mart, Macejko said. In most cases he used an assumed name.

Reed was cooperative with police after being caught and gave a statement admitting his guilt, according to Macejko and defense attorney Brian Tareshawty.

Tareshawty said Reed resorted to stealing the mail because he needed money to support a drug problem. He intends to ask Judge Cronin for probation so Reed can seek treatment.

No bond reduction: Reed asked that his $100,000 bond be reduced so he can get out of jail and spend time with his family before being sent to prison, but Judge Cronin refused.

Macejko said there are more than 90 victims affected by Reed's mail-theft spree. The prosecutor's office will send each of them a form letter informing them of the plea and their right to address the judge before sentencing.

bjackson@vindy.com




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