YOUNGSTOWN Paper box thief pleads guilty

Some of the crimes occurred when the defendant was out on bond on theft charges.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A Poland man faces up to three years of imprisonment after pleading guilty to theft, tampering and other charges related to the theft of newspaper boxes in several Mahoning County communities.
John J. Lysowski, 35, of Blue Ridge Drive, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to six counts of theft, eight charges of tampering with a coin machine, two counts of receiving stolen property and three counts of breaking and entering.
Through his plea, Lysowski admitted that he stole and tampered with newspaper boxes owned by the Vindicator Printing Co. and other newspaper agencies between January and October 2001.
Some of the crimes occurred when Lysowski was out on bond on previous theft charges.
Confession: Lysowski told Judge Maureen A. Cronin that he had signed a confession relating to The Vindicator boxes and had taken a detective to where he had dumped the machines.
"I tried to make it easy on him, your honor," Lysowski said.
Through a plea agreement, Kelly Johns, assistant county prosecutor, said she seeks two 18-month consecutive sentences on two of the theft charges and concurrent time on the remaining charges. She said she would not oppose a motion for judicial release once Lysowski serves at least 19 months. Upon his release, restitution would be sought, Johns said.
Defense lawyer Mark Lavelle of New Middletown said he would argue for a shorter prison term.
State prison: Judge Cronin said she planned to see that Lysowski spends at least 13 months at a state penitentiary once he is transferred there from county jail after his sentencing. He already has served four months in the county jail.
Lysowski still faces three charges of felony theft involving the theft of newspaper boxes in Hubbard Township. A detective there said the cases would be handled after the Mahoning County cases are resolved.
The newspaper boxes, valued at about $500 each, are usually destroyed when a thief breaks them open to remove change from inside. The Vindicator's circulation director said the company lost nearly 100 boxes with a total value of more than $50,000, not including the $20 to $25 in coins in each machine.

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