High speed chase followed pizza shop robbery

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Staff report


Employees of the pizza shop that an 18-year-old is accused of robbing before leading police on a high-speed chase say the robber took about $525 in cash from the shop’s register.

The chase ended in a crash on Market Street.

Matthew Koziorynsky, 18, of Youngstown, was freed Tuesday afternoon from a blue Ford Ranger at Market Street and Withers Drive and taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center after his vehicle ran into a utility pole during a police pursuit after the 2:21 p.m. robbery.

The Youngstown police report did not give an estimate of the speed of the chase.

But based on crash photos and the accounts of his staff, Lt. Nakia Hendrix, commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Canfield Post, estimated the speed of the Ranger at 90 mph (double the posted speed limit), “if not faster,” when it hit the wooden pole. OSHP’s crash investigation is incomplete, Hendrix said.

The cashier at Marco’s Pizza, 2072 E. Midlothian Blvd., told police she was confronted by a young man wearing a homemade, off-white, loose-knit mask with eye cutouts and a dark hooded sweatshirt, who demanded that she open the cash register drawer.

The cashier said she didn’t see the robber display a weapon, but he kept his hands in his pockets in such a way that she believed he had a weapon.

The cashier opened the register, removed the tills containing cash and set them on the counter.

The robber grabbed the money and fled toward South Heights Avenue wearing black and gray gardening gloves with dots as palm grips, the cashier told police.

The district manager, who was working on a laptop computer 4 to 5 feet from the robber, gave the same account of the robbery.

Another shop employee told police she was in the parking lot walking toward the store when she saw the suspect matching the cashier’s description run out the shop door and jump into an unoccupied blue Ford Ranger on Loveland Avenue and drive west on South Heights Avenue.

The store manager told police cameras were on inside the shop when the robbery occurred, but he didn’t know if they captured the robbery.

A city police officer spotted the Ranger westbound on East Midlothian Boulevard near Interstate 680 and gave chase, pursuing the Ranger along Midlothian, Handel’s Court, Vermont Avenue and Market Street until it crashed into and was wrapped around a utility pole outside 6006 Market St.

Police found cash under and within the crashed vehicle and a large wooden-handled kitchen knife on the pavement. Police found an off-white stocking cap near the vehicle roof.

Koziorynsky was video-arraigned in Youngstown Municipal Court Wednesday afternoon on charges of robbery, a second degree felony, and fleeing and eluding, a third degree felony.

He was on crutches and asked municipal Judge Elizabeth Kobly for a court-appointed attorney. He said he is unemployed. He suffered a broken foot in the crash, and he may face charges of operating a vehicle while impaired after the investigation is complete, officials said.

Judge Kobly set his bond for robbery at $100,000 cash or surety bond and for fleeing and eluding police at $75,000. He remains in the Mahoning County jail.

Koziorynsky will appear in court again at 10 a.m. next Thursday .

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