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Campbell council faces wrath over burglaries



Published: Thu, December 3, 2009 @ 12:04 a.m.

By Jeanne Starmack

Residents expressed frustration over several issues.

CAMPBELL — Residents bombarded city council with anger Wednesday over issues that ranged from rumors of council members not wanting to work with the new mayor to a lack of manpower in safety forces.

A rash of burglaries in the city has touched off a nerve, with residents saying they need action.

“My house got broken into last week,” said Louie Douropoulos of Robinson Road. My cousin’s got broken into yesterday, and my aunt almost got ran over by the person robbing the house.”

“Something’s got to be done,” he continued, adding that the Section 8 housing in the city isn’t helping.

“I feel bad for these kids,” he said about the police. “They need help.”

Douropoulos also said he would petition to keep a gun-repair shop from locating in the city. Council said it has to go through the process of a public hearing on whether to allow a zone change for the shop, which a Hubbard man wants to open on Robinson Road.

It was Kon Pizanias’ house on Struthers-Liberty Road that was burglarized Tuesday, the latest in a string of daytime burglaries.

The burglaries, nine in all, have been going on throughout the city for the last four weeks. In many, doors have been kicked or pried open while homeowners are at work, police have said. Electronics and jewelry seem to be popular items for the thieves, police reports indicate.

Pizanias’ mother-in-law was driving by the house at 11:39 a.m. when she saw a strange vehicle in the driveway, a police report says. She pulled in behind the green Ford Explorer and confronted a woman waiting there. She told police she saw a man walk into the house, and when she went to the door, she saw it had been kicked in. She told police that she went inside the house, and the woman in the driveway tried to leave. She went out and tried to stop her, she said, and the woman almost hit her as she was backing out of the driveway.

Officer John Gulu told The Vindicator Tuesday that because this burglary is so much like the others, it’s likely they are connected.

The witness identified the woman in the Explorer through a photo lineup, and there is a warrant for her arrest, he said.

Pizanias told council that he has lived in the city for 16 years.

“All I see are personal agendas,” he said. “None of you have done your jobs. I’m sick and tired of it.”

Detective Sgt. John Rusnak and officer Dan Burich from the city police department told council that the city’s charter calls for 16 police officers. There are only 12.

Burich told Douropoulos and Pizanias that police were at Pizanias’ house within a minute.

He said police are trying, but “we don’t have the resources to do the job we want to do.”

“We want more police and more fire,” Douropoulos told council.

“If we had the money, that would be great,” said Councilwoman Juanita Rich, who was chairing the meeting. She invited Douropoulos to come to a finance committee meeting Monday.

“That’s not my job,” he shot back.

Other residents expressed anger over a rumor that council is already planning to block new mayor George Krinos’ attempt to appoint a new finance director.

Krinos tried to fire the present finance director Sherman Miles Monday. He relented when the city law director and an attorney for Miles pointed out the city charter requires council to approve his new appointment. Miles is staying on in the post for now, but Krinos said he will recommend his own candidate at council’s Dec. 16 meeting. He would not tell The Vindicator whom he intends to recommend.

“Every mayor has the right to have his own appointment,” insisted Kay Garman after the meeting. When she questioned Rich about it during the meeting’s public comment session, Rich cited the section in the charter that calls for council’s approval.


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