Teens arrested for string of robberies
City resident Hameedah Shakoor said she the two teens arrested in a string of robberies involving ATM customers are the same two people who stuck a gun in her face and robbed her on Valentine’s Day.
Liberty Township police arrested 17-year-old Edthaniel Tarver of Campbell and 18-year-old Denzel Searcy of New Castle, Pa., late Thursday. They are believed to be responsible for a string of ATM-customer robberies in several jurisdictions, including Liberty, Youngstown and possibly Campbell.
Shakoor left work shortly after 7 p.m. Feb. 14 and stopped at an ATM in the area of Belmont Avenue and Gypsy Lane. She noticed a dark-colored car with people sitting inside in the parking lot but continued with her business of making a $40 withdrawal from the machine.
Shakoor said just as she removed the money from the drive-in teller machine, a man put a gun to her chest and ordered her to empty her bank account. Another man went to the opposite side of her car and pointed a gun at her head.
“He was sticking the gun in my chest really, really hard, and all I could think to say to this young man was, ‘Please don’t do this,’ meaning please don’t shoot me,” she recalled.
The thieves took $340 from her account, a cellphone, a personalized lighter and then said, “You won’t be needing this,” as they removed a Bluetooth earpiece from her ear.
She is not sure if the teens arrested are the same two captured in Liberty, but she said the description does match, and police are certain the teens are responsible for a string of similar robberies in the area.
“I really hope this is them. This was a horrible situation, to say the least,” Shakoor said.
Tarver and Searcy were caught by township police after a foot chase and search involving police dogs. Rich Tisone, township police chief, said the two men had just robbed a woman making a withdrawal from an ATM along Belmont with her small child in the back seat. Two guns were pointed at the woman as the thieves demanded money.
Youngstown police Chief Rod Foley said he is certain the two men are responsible for at least three similar robberies in the city, and he is happy they are off the streets.
“Their violence seemed to escalate while doing each of these crimes, and we were concerned that someone could be hurt,” he said. “We hope to have these guys off the street for a long time.”
The level of violence did increase since the suspected Valentine’s Day robbery to the Thursday incident.
Reports say the 25-year-old victim in the Thursday robbery was pistol whipped in front of her 6-year-old child.
The victim was able to get a description of the dark-colored car used by the assailants to escape, and she gave that to police. Tisone said officers already were investigating previous, similar robberies and were on high alert.
“We figured they would be coming back. When these things happen, you know they are going to keep doing it until they get caught. Our units were vigilant in getting this done,” he said.
Police pulled over the car containing the two teens and found clothes matching those worn by the robbers, guns and drugs. Tisone said officers also were able to obtain a confession.
Tarver and Searcy are in Trumbull County Jail. They both are charged with aggravated robbery, endangering children, obstructing official business and resisting arrest.
Officials from other departments are looking over the case to determine what, if any, charges will come from other jurisdictions.