By kalea hall
A Mahoning County grand jury indicted former Poland teacher Irene Consiglio on charges of robbery, a second-degree felony, and failure to comply with a police officer, a fourth-degree felony. Her husband, Frank Consiglio Sr., also was indicted on a robbery charge.
Irene’s indictment Thursday came the same the day her resignation from the Poland Local School District became effective.
The Poland Board of Education accepted her resignation Monday at a board meeting. She sent in her resignation letter Oct. 18 and cited “personal reasons” for the resignation. Irene was a teacher for 13 years at Poland schools and most recently taught special education at Poland Middle School. She also was a track coach.
Irene, 46, and her husband, Frank, 45, both of Canfield, were arrested in early October after Boardman police were called to a robbery outside the Sandwich Factory on Market Street in Boardman.
Frank is accused of stealing a woman’s purse as she was getting into her car Oct. 2. The 66-year-old Columbiana woman was pushed to the ground during the crime. Her purse had $900, checks issued to her and multiple debit and credit cards. Police say Frank jumped into a gray Hyundai that was being driven by his wife. Witnesses who saw the getaway car leave the parking lot told police the license-plate number on the temporary tags on the car.
Police stopped the vehicle on U.S. Route 224, but as the officer stepped out of his vehicle, the driver, identified as Irene, fled the scene.
Police eventually stopped her in the parking lot of the Blue Wolf Tavern Banquet Center on Lockwood Boulevard. The officer believed there was only one person in the vehicle, but Frank jumped out of the passenger side and ran into the woods after the vehicle stopped. Irene was arrested at the scene, and police searched for Frank. He was not apprehended until the next day.
At her preliminary hearing Oct. 8 in Mahoning County Area Court in Canfield, Boardman Detective Sgt. Glen Riddle said Irene told police she did not know her husband was going to rob someone that evening. She also said she fled from police because her husband told her to because of pending drug and traffic charges he had in Campbell.
Campbell police had seized suspected cocaine from his car May 17 after he was stopped for expired plates.
Irene’s attorney, Timothy Franken, told Judge Joseph Houser of Mahoning County Area Court he thought her complicity-to-robbery charge should be dismissed.
A review of Irene’s personnel file by The Vindicator revealed letters from the administration to Irene regarding her absences from school and tardiness. Despite the letters, Irene was rated a successful educator at Poland again and again.
Superintendent David Janofa and board President Beau Weaver would not comment on Irene’s resignation from Poland schools after their Monday meeting. Weaver did say Irene’s classes were being covered by a substitute in addition to help from the other special-education teachers.
Irene had no prior criminal charges before this incident, but has been involved in civil actions, including a foreclosure in 2012. Irene’s pay from Poland schools was being garnished for an unpaid debt to The Villas at Lookout Point, a condominium company in Canfield.
The Consiglios are expected to be arraigned before Judge Maureen Sweeney of common pleas court some time next week.