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BOARDMAN Stolen phone leads to arrests of 3 men



Published: Thu, January 31, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The men will be arraigned this evening in Boardman area court.

By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

BOARDMAN -- A stolen cellular telephone led police this week to three Youngstown men wanted in the Christmas Eve robbery of a township convenience store.

Franklin D. Fleming Jr., 42, of Atkinson Avenue, is charged with misdemeanor theft. Robert E. Spencer, 29, of Midlothian Boulevard, is charged with misdemeanor receiving stolen property and grand theft auto. James Standford Jr., 34, of Brookline Drive, is charged with robbery, a felony.

They will be arraigned tonight in Boardman area court.

Lt. J. D. Heaver said a township patrolman responded to a call Jan. 9 about a person, later discovered to be Spencer, on Chester Drive. The officer talked to Spencer, found to have two screwdrivers in his pocket and a cellular telephone. Spencer didn't know the phone number.

The officer took the screwdrivers and the phone, but released Spencer because he did not have any arrest warrants on file. Eventually police found out that the phone had been reported stolen in Youngstown.

Heaver said that when investigators later questioned Spencer about the phone, he confessed to his part in a robbery late last year. Spencer told officers there were two other men involved.

What happened: According to police reports, at about 4:40 p.m. Dec. 24, two men -- later determined by police to be Fleming and Standford -- entered the Dairy Mart store on Lockwood Boulevard, where Fleming started eating a bag of potato chips from the store shelves. The other man, believed to be Standford, asked to buy a pack of candy.

The 33-year-old cashier told police that as she opened the cash register to complete the sale, the man came behind the counter and snatched all the cash. She said he then started pushing buttons on the safe, trying to get it open.

The two men jumped into a 1996 Oldsmobile, escaping with $60 worth of cash and merchandise. Heaver said the car had been stolen several days earlier.

Heaver said Fleming is charged with misdemeanor theft because police believe he is guilty of only stealing the bag of potato chips he ate in the store.

Police did not have to look far to find Fleming and Standford. Both men were in the county jail on unrelated charges.

Standford, also charged in an unrelated robbery of a Marathon gas station and a parole violation, was hospitalized last Thursday morning after Youngstown police found him on the floor of the Forest City Food Mart in Youngstown.

He had suffered a gunshot wound and staggered into the store. He refused to tell police where the shooting took place.

jgoodwin@vindy.com




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