Repo rage: Car owner accused of wielding gun, taking truck

By Ed Runyan

WARREN — Things didn’t go quite the way you see on television for a repo man from Bath, Ohio, who came to Warren to take possession of a car Wednesday.

Instead of having an argument with the owner of the repossessed car and leaving the scene with the vehicle, he had to run for his life when the angry owner poked a gun in his face and took off with the repo man’s tow truck, which had the owner’s car attached, police said.

The incident began normally as Michael Pasqualetti drove around Warren and located the white 2002 Buick LeSabre in a driveway on Oak Knoll Avenue Southeast. He called for another repo man from Deerfield, Ohio, to assist him.

At about 8:30 p.m., Pasqualetti hooked up the Buick from the rear and pulled it into a parking lot across Niles Road a short distance away from the residence to hook the car up to the tow truck a different way.

The car owner then came out of the Oak Knoll home, ran toward them and shouted to the repo men to give him back his car.

Pasqualetti noticed that the man had his hand in his sweatshirt pocket. Then he saw him pull a pistol out and point it at him.

Pasqualetti “took off running as [he] kept yelling at the gunman not to shoot,” a Warren police report said.

The gunman jumped into the tow truck and drove away — with the Buick still in tow.

The story had a good ending for Pasqualetti, however, thanks to Warren police.

Pasqualetti called police as he watched the gunman drive the tow truck back toward the Oak Knoll home, he said.

A police officer arrived a short time later and arrested Raheean N. Butler, 27, of Draper Street Southeast, who was running from the two vehicles at the time, police said.

Pasqualetti and the other repo man identified Butler as the man who had pulled the gun and drove the tow truck, police said.

No pistol was found in the area, but a shotgun was recovered from the trunk of the LeSabre, police said.

The tow truck and LeSabre were returned to Pasqualetti, who works for American Leader Service of Andover.

Butler appeared in Warren Municipal Court on Thursday on two counts of aggravated robbery and a charge of having weapons under disability, meaning he previously had been convicted of a felony or had been indicted on one and cannot possess a gun.

Judge Terry Ivanchak set bond at $250,000.

Butler’s hearing was delayed a short time because he had been taken to the Trumbull County Courthouse by county deputies for a hearing before Judge John M. Stuard of common pleas court earlier Thursday morning.

Butler had a pretrial there on several felony drug charges and had to be brought back to the county jail so he could be arraigned by video on the new charges.

If convicted on the newest charges, Butler could get up to 25 years in prison.

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