Steven DiRenzo, who authorities have labeled a career criminal, pleaded not guilty to charges of receiving stolen property and tampering with evidence at his arraignment before Judge Joseph M. Houser of Mahoning County Area Court here.
Martin Hume, an assistant county prosecutor, requested bail at Thursday’s court hearing be set at $100,000 given DiRenzo’s extensive criminal past, which dates back to 2005.
Judge Houser accepted the request, and DiRenzo told Judge Houser he plans on being able to pay the cash or surety bond. Until then, he remains in the county jail.
“The court’s going to find that I believe you’ve been evasive, even in answering questions under oath,” Judge Houser said to DiRenzo.
If DiRenzo posts bond, he will be under electronically monitored house arrest. The judge set a preliminary hearing for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the court here.
DiRenzo, 42, who police arrested Tuesday, seemed dazed and confused during the arraignment as he was unable to answer some questions asked by Judge Houser.
He couldn’t remember his address, where he worked, or provide any information pertaining to past pay stubs. The judge said he had to ask those questions to determine if DiRenzo qualified for a court-appointed lawyer.
“If you don’t answer these questions, I can’t get you a court-appointed lawyer,” Judge Houser said.
The judge did appoint a lawyer to represent DiRenzo after DiRenzo was able to tell him his last paycheck was not cashed and at home.
“I would expect that you’d be better able to answer these questions if asked by another court,” Judge Houser told DiRenzo. “So you better know where you’re working and the last time you received a paycheck.”
Boardman police and the sheriff’s office teamed up to obtain a search warrant Tuesday on DiRenzo’s Mathews Road residence, where they found a large quantity of jewelry, tools, radio equipment, narcotics, drug paraphernalia and possible identification cards belonging to possible crime victims.
DiRenzo also is expected to be extradited to Pennsylvania, where he might face several home-invasion charges after a woman reported a man with a similar vehicle to DiRenzo’s had broken into her Pulaski, Pa., home early Tuesday morning.
Police believe he’ll be in prison and off the streets longer if he is charged and eventually convicted of the home invasions.
Judge Houser said if DiRenzo is found guilty on the tampering-with-evidence charge, he could face a five-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.
DiRenzo would face an additional six-month prison term and $1,000 fine if he eventually would be convicted of receiving stolen property.