Addiction led to robbery, and robbery led to 6 years in prison

Staff report


Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court said he believed that but for his addiction, Michael Varchulik likely wouldn’t have stolen a car and committed two robberies in Boardman.

But for his addiction, Varchulik would not be spending the next six years in prison.

Varchulik, 48, of Campbell, stole copper from Falcon Foundry in August 2017, and then Oct. 26 he stole a car left running at a Midlothian Boulevard gas station and proceeded to rob the McDonald’s restaurant on Western Reserve Road and the Huntington Bank on U.S. Route 224.

Varchulik previously served four years on a 2010 aggravated-robbery conviction, and Assistant Prosecutor Marybeth DiGravio said he has had plenty of time to work on himself.

Varchulik, who worked most of his life as a union pipefitter, said he spent five years sober but hardship led him back to drugs.

“I’ve never done a criminal act in my life [while] sober,” Varchulik told the court Friday.

His sister said he found it difficult to find work after he left prison with a felony conviction.

Judge Durkin, who presides over the county’s drug court, said despite Varchulik’s struggles, not all those who suffer from addiction go to the lengths he did.

“We’ve got a lot of people suffering from this disease who don’t resort to the insanity that you’ve resorted to,” Judge Durkin said. “I so wish these weren’t robberies.”

The six-year sentence was less than the eight years requested by prosecutors, but greater than the four years he served on his previous conviction.

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