Suspect sought in $80K Covelli robbery

By David Skolnick

The robbery occurred four days before the Harlem Globetrotters show.

YOUNGSTOWN — The armed robber who held up an employee for the Covelli Centre’s food and drink vendor got away with about $80,000 and is still at large.

The amount of money taken from the Boston Culinary Group’s office manager during the Jan. 26 robbery was confirmed Wednesday by Youngstown Police Chief Jimmy Hughes.

Police are still interviewing people and following up on leads, but no arrest had been made as of Wednesday, Hughes said. He declined to discuss the leads in the investigation.

When asked if the robbery could have involved Boston Culinary employees, Hughes said, “It’s always a possibility it’s an inside job. That’s been my experience [with robberies such as this]. But that’s not to say what happened in this case.”

Eric Ryan, the center’s executive director, previously said: “It was somebody who knew enough about Boston Culinary” to know that much money was at the facility at the time of the robbery.

When told about the $80,000 figure Wednesday, Ryan said, “That’s an incredible amount of money.”

Boston Culinary keeps money at the center, locked away, to use for change and other purposes leading up to events, Ryan said.

There were high school basketball games played at the center a few days before the robbery, and the sold-out Harlem Globetrotters show was four days after the robbery, Ryan said.

While Ryan said he doesn’t know Boston Culinary’s money policies, the amount of cash the company had at its center office was probably in preparation for the Globetrotters show.

Attempts Wednesday by The Vindicator to reach Mark Daigle, Boston Culinary’s local general manager, were unsuccessful.

A 40-year-old Boston Culinary office manager heard a knock on the door at the center about 9:15 a.m. Jan. 26 and opened it believing it was a delivery, police said.

After stuffing the money into a bag, the robber — who had a gun and was wearing a black ski mask — had the victim sit in an office chair. He tied her up with duct tape and locked her inside an office, police said.

She wasn’t hurt during the robbery.

The robber fled on foot and might have gotten into a red Ford Explorer on South Avenue, police said.

It was the first robbery at the center, which opened in October 2005.

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