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BOARDMAN Telltale auto part helps track down burglary suspect



Published: Wed, January 23, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The suspect backed out of a garage just as the homeowner opened the door.

By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

BOARDMAN -- Creative investigative work and a good amount of help from area businesses led police to a man they suspect burglarized a home last month.

He also was accused of attempting to run over the homeowner while fleeing the home.

The Indianola Road homeowner had been offering a $500 reward for any information leading to the arrest. He was also willing to pay $100 to anyone who could locate the car used in the crime.

Police said they made an arrest Sunday. William Ray Vaughn, 45, of South Forest Street, Youngstown, is charged with two counts of felonious assault and felony burglary. He will be arraigned in Boardman area court Thursday evening.

What happened: The homeowner said he and his wife were heading home on the afternoon of Dec. 29 and were within 100 feet of his driveway when he pushed the remote control button to open his garage door.

Instead of an empty driveway and open garage door, they found a vehicle backing out of the driveway.

The homeowner told police he attempted to block the car with his vehicle, but the man backed into his car and tried to force his way out of the driveway. The homeowner then got out of the car and tried to confront the man, but the burglar backed up again and got away.

How they did it: Lt. J.D. Heaver of Boardman police said that ramming action is what ultimately led to the arrest. He said a small part of the car police believe Vaughn used was left in the driveway.

Sgt. Nick Levinsky, who handled the case, took the part to Leeson Auto Body on Market Street where employees identified the part, giving officers a part number for the piece.

Levinsky then took the part and part number to Spartan Chevrolet. Technicians at the dealership gave officers the exact type of vehicle to which the car belonged.

Heaver said the police department's communication's department then ran a search of between 300 and 400 bicentennial plates in the area that could match the vehicle description. Once they felt the correct plate had been found, officers went to Vaughn's address and found the car two houses away hidden in a backyard, said Heaver.

Damage on the car matched damage that would have been received from the ramming incident, officers said.

"There was a lot of cooperation from businesses in the community and we really appreciated those things," said Heaver.

jgoodwin@vindy.com




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