YOUNGSTOWN -- The body of a man found in the basement of a vacant house at 1688 Liberty St. has been identified as Chad Clinkscale, 33, of Hillbrook Apartments, South Raccoon Road, Austintown, said interim Austintown Police Chief Mark Durkin.
The chief said it appears Clinkscale died from strangulation. A ruling is pending from the Mahoning County Coroner's office.
The body was found Wednesday at the bottom of the basement steps by a homeless man scavenging in the vacant house.
The case has been assigned to Youngstown Detective Sgt. Gerry Maietta. He could not be reached Friday.
Clinkscale was reported missing last month. His sister told police she last saw her brother Jan. 27 at his apartment as he was getting ready to go out for the evening. The woman filed a report with Austintown police Jan. 30.
Clinkscale's car was found this week in a field on Nelson Avenue in Youngstown and is being held by police.
AUSTINTOWN -- A Youngstown man will be in court Feb. 28 on a felony vandalism charge, accused of knocking down road signs in the township's Wickliffe area.
Stephen Grieco, 24, East Florida Avenue, is accused of running into no parking, stop ahead and stop signs with his truck and knocking them over the weekend of Feb. 12. The truck's bumper, with the front license plate attached, was found in the road.
The damage is estimated at more than $1,400.
The charge rises to a felony because it involved a safety device, police said.
Police called the township road department upon finding the signs, and they were replaced.
Stolen handgun found
YOUNGSTOWN -- A .40-caliber handgun stolen in January from a South Avenue pawn shop was found Thursday when police used a search warrant to enter 525 Ferndale Ave.
Antonio Crockett, 19, of that address, was arrested on a charge of receiving stolen property and possession of marijuana. Crockett told police he bought the gun.
Two small bags of suspected marijuana were found on Crockett, reports show.
HOWLAND -- Township firefighters are investigating a Thursday night blaze at a vacant Republic Avenue house.
Tim Thomas, assistant chief, said the property was vacant; the gas had been shut off since January 2004, and neighbors said the house was to be auctioned.
Fire officials were working today with the Trumbull County Auditor's office to determine who owns the structure.
The fire was at 8:54 p.m. at 3043 Republic, at the corner of Niles Road, causing $55,000 damage to the structure.
Crews arrived to find the house fully in flames but initially were hampered by charged and fallen power lines.
No one was injured.
COLUMBIANA -- Candidates for mayor and city council in the city will run this fall as independents and will not compete in the May 3 primaries.
Columbiana Mayor Lowell Schloneger stands to run unopposed unless another candidate files before the May 2 deadline.
Current council members Patricia Keylor and Donald Vignon will run as independents, while fellow council member William Kimpel is a Republican. Despite his party of choice, Kimpel did not file to run in the primary as a Republican but said he will file to run as an independent.
Bidding for a new spot on council is Thomas Ferguson, who will also run as an independent.
Leaving the scene
YOUNGSTOWN -- John C. Arcuri, 21, of Bellair Court, Niles, was issued a citation at his home Thursday on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident.
Police said the accident took place Tuesday on Mahoning Avenue when a white Chrysler New Yorker struck the rear of a tow truck and fled the scene.
The tow truck driver gave police the license plate number and a description of the driver.
The Chrysler was found at Arcuri's address, police said.