YOUNGSTOWN Probation hearing is set in car thefts
The man got caught Sunday when Austintown police stopped him and charged him with DUI.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- When Brandon Mace got out of jail Dec. 30, one of his first stops was an automobile dealership in Warren where he got himself a 2003 Dodge Ram pickup truck.
The problem, authorities say, is that he didn't pay for the $33,000 vehicle.
He wrote a $20,645 check for a 1998 Lincoln Navigator sport-utility vehicle the same day at a dealership in Cortland. The check bounced, but Mace kept the SUV, police say.
And two days later, he drove away from an East Liverpool dealership in a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am GT worth $9,871, for which he did not pay, according to police.
The kicker is that he'd just gotten out of jail and was on probation for the very same thing, said Jay Macejko, assistant Mahoning County prosecutor.
Mace's story started in December 2001 when he showed up at an Austintown dealership and asked to take a 1997 Ford Taurus for a test drive.
He drove the car to a dealership in Columbiana, told a salesman it was his and that he wanted to trade it in for a 2002 Dodge Durango SUV. He negotiated a price, told the salesman that he had just come into some money and needed to go home for his checkbook to buy the new vehicle.
He drove it away and never brought it back.
He was later caught and charged with theft, to which he pleaded guilty last year. Judge James C. Evans of common pleas court placed him on probation for three years, but ordered him to serve the first 270 days in the county jail.
Mace, 25, of Youngstown, got credit for time he'd already spent in jail awaiting trial and was released Dec. 30, Macejko said. That's the same day he got the Navigator and the Ram truck.
Macejko said Mace told salesmen at the Warren and East Liverpool dealerships that he was a business owner and promised to pay for the vehicles the next day. He reportedly gave the Pontiac to his girlfriend.
Mace was caught when police stopped him and charged him with driving under the influence of alcohol Sunday in Austintown. He was driving the Navigator at the time. The pickup truck was later recovered undamaged, as was the Pontiac.
When they learned of his DUI arrest and the allegations against him involving the vehicles, prosecutors filed a motion to revoke his probation.
At a hearing Thursday, Mace admitted through his lawyer, Edward Carson, that there's probable cause to believe he violated terms of his probation. A final probation violation hearing will be Feb. 13 before Judge Evans.
He's being held in the county jail without bond until then.
Macejko said Mace has been charged with passing bad checks in Cortland, and criminal charges are pending against him in the other vehicle thefts.