By joe gorman
As police looked for two men who held up a West Side store Thursday evening, they didn’t realize until about lunchtime Friday that they already were in jail.
Charles Bulatko, 20, and Timothy Fulton, 38, were already in the Mahoning County jail and set to be arraigned in Youngstown Municipal Court on charges from Mill Creek MetroParks police after they almost crashed a car into a tree about 10 p.m. Thursday. In 2012, Bulatko was sentenced to prison for shooting Fulton in the mouth.
City Prosecutor Dana Lantz was conferring with Detective Sgt. Mike Lambert over cases set to be arraigned when she told him of the Mill Creek case and a gun found in the car. Lambert said he had a robbery case from about the same time Thursday with a similar type of gun.
Lantz showed Lambert photos of Bulatko and Fulton. He compared them with photos taken just before the store was robbed, where two men were caught on video putting on their masks in the parking lot before the robbery. Bulatko also was a suspect in a menacing case Thursday where a woman said he pointed a gun at her.
The photos matched. Bulatko and Fulton had aggravated-robbery charges added to their docket before they were arraigned by Magistrate Anthony Sertick. He set a bond of $25,000 for Fulton, who also was charged by MetroParks police with one count of possession of drugs. Bond was set at $85,000 for Bulatko, who faces charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, driving under suspension and possession of drugs.
Reports said two men entered a 2725 Mahoning Ave. store about 9:50 p.m. and one of them pulled a gun while another demanded money. The men got some money from the cash register and left.
As police searched the area around the store on South Schenley Avenue with a police dog from Austintown, the pair were pulled over by MetroParks police at 10 p.m. after they almost crashed and were taken into custody after the gun and a small amount of marijuana were found in the car.
Before the robbery on the West Side, an officer was sent to take a report on the South Side on Falls Avenue, where a woman said Bulatko had come to her home to remove some property and threatened her with a gun. No charges have been filed in that case, but it is being investigated, Lantz said.
In June 2012, Bulatko was sentenced to prison for shooting Fulton at the Parkwood Avenue home of Bulatko’s mother in April 2011.
Police reports at the time said Fulton was dating Bulatko’s mother, and Bulatko shot Fulton in the face, then ran away and was arrested later. He is on probation for that crime.