Off-duty policeman thwarts bank robbery

Off-duty policeman
thwarts bank robbery

YOUNGSTOWN — Off-duty city Patrolman Robert Martini thwarted a bank robbery Tuesday morning by taking the would-be thief to the ground, said Capt. Kenneth Centorame, chief of detectives. Martini was working security at National City Bank, 2533 Belmont Ave., when Gregory W. Rook, 43, of Harrisburg, Pa., entered around 9:30 a.m., implied he had a gun, and announced his intentions to rob the bank, Centorame said. The captain described Martini’s actions — putting himself in jeopardy to prevent injury to customers and employees — as outstanding. A getaway car with Pennsylvania license plates was found in an alley near the bank. Centorame said Rook is a professional criminal. “He told us he just got out of prison in December 2006, said he’s robbed banks in other parts of the country,” Centorame said. The case has been turned over to the FBI and the charge will likely be prosecuted federally. Centorame said what happened serves as a reminder to the community that, at this time of the year, Christmas, some people turn to desperate measures for money.

Austintown teachers to
meet on pact options

AUSTINTOWN — Austintown Board of Education members must wait one more day for an answer from the Austintown Education Association. Last week, the AEA refused the board’s request for an arbitrator to settle the negotiations over contract language about teachers’ planning time and the input they have to schedule it. The school board has tried to eliminate language in the old contract that gives teachers input on scheduling their planning time. The AEA will have a meeting at 4 p.m. today to discuss its options, said Alf Nelson, the AEA’s labor consultant from the Ohio Education Association. Superintendent Doug Heuer said the board will have a special meeting Thursday at 7 a.m.

Candle causes fire

WARREN — A lighted candle left unattended in a bedroom is the cause of a fire that damaged a home at 2923 Linda Drive N.W. about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday. The occupant, Cheryel Davis, was outside preparing to enter her vehicle when she heard the smoke alarm go off, firefighters said. The bedroom and hallway and the outside of the home sustained fire damage. There was smoke and water damage throughout the structure. No injuries were reported, firefighters said.

Board appointments

NEW CASTLE, Pa. — Lawrence County commissioners appointed several people to county boards at their regular meeting. Barbara Leckwart and Bonnie Smith, both of New Castle, were appointed to three-year terms on the Lawrence County Children and Youth Advisory Board. Michael Mancuso of Pulaski Township was reappointed to a four-year term on the Lawrence County Housing Authority. Tom Dean of New Castle was reappointed to a four-year term on the Lawrence County Municipal Authority.

Board meetings set

Two local boards are having meetings today. The Austintown Township trustees meet at 6 p.m. at the board offices on Ohltown Road. The Campbell Board of Education meets at 6:30 p.m. at the high school, Room 310.

Church food pantry

EAST PALESTINE — Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, corner of Grant and Walnut streets, will have a food pantry from 9:30 to 11 a.m. today. All people living in East Palestine School District and having limited income are welcome to come for food assistance. Use the Walnut Street office entrance.

Pet adoption day

LORDSTOWN — The Animal Welfare League Shelter, 545 Brunstetter Road, will have a pet adoption day from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (330) 399-2086.

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