String of robberies plagues South Side
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
Police officers were busy Wednesday with several armed robberies throughout the city and arrests of people for weapons violations police believe may be associated with some of the robberies.
The aggravated robberies took place at Irish Bob’s Bar on South Avenue, The Boulevard Tavern on South Avenue and a Family Dollar store on Market Street.
Police Chief Rod Foley said the department is aware of increased theft and robbery around the holiday season.
“We are going to have more patrols out during the rest of the season. Hopefully, with the arrests made Wednesday, we got some of these people off the streets with these guns,” he added.
Police arrested five people, including two juveniles, on weapons and drug charges.
Foley said none of the people arrested has been charged with the robberies, but police are looking into possible connections.
“We always see a lot of robberies during this season, and we have been seeing more gunfire in some of the neighborhoods so we had extra patrols out,” Foley said. “We made several apprehensions on people with guns, and we are trying to link some of those cases to these robberies.”
According to police reports, a group of young black males went to the Boulevard Tavern just before 7 p.m. and systematically robbed patrons in the parking lot at gunpoint.
One man in the bar’s parking lot said one of the three armed thieves made him lie down at gunpoint while the other two men went though his pockets. The men then ordered the 23-year-old Lowellville man to unlock his car so they could search it for valuables.
Two other people told police they were standing by the front door of the establishment when a man approached and pointed a gun at them demanding money. Those two people quickly ran inside.
Shortly after the robbery and attempted robbery police spotted three males fitting the description of the armed thieves walking not far from the bar. Officers attempted to speak with the three men, but they ran. Police did catch Bernard Hasley, 22, of Benita Avenue and found a handgun near where police caught him.
Hasley is not charged with the robbery or possession of the gun until police can determine he had the weapon. He is charged with possession of drugs for pills police found on him.
Shortly after the robbery at the Boulevard Tavern, police were called to Irish Bob’s. The victim told police he was walking home from the bar shortly after 8 p.m. when he was approached by a black male in a hooded sweat shirt who demanded money.
The 67-year-old South Avenue victim said the thief rifled through his pockets and then took his car keys and searched his car for valuables. The thief ran off with the man’s keys, several hundred dollars and change from inside the car. Police recovered a glove dropped at the scene by the thief.
Within the same hour, police were called to the Family Dollar store in the 2200 block of Market Street for a third armed robbery.
Police reports say two men wearing masks, black hats and gloves ran into the store, pulled out guns and demanded the clerk hand over money from the cash register. The clerk complied, and the men snatched a customer’s purse as they ran out of the store.
Police converged on the area and spotted a car containing four men, two of them fitting the description of the men who were in the store.
Police pulled the car containing the four men over and found three firearms tucked away in various places inside the car.
Police arrested Demario Hoyt, 14, of Howard Street; Ryanokeith Brown, 17, of Choice Court; James Woods, 18, of Palmer Avenue; and Charles Walker, 18, of Warwick Avenue, all on weapons charges.