Judge goes easy on teen guilty in two theft cases

YOUNGSTOWN — Tyler Verhest is only 18, but Judge Lou D’Apolito said he’s already received his last chance.

“You deserve a break, so I’m going to give you a break,” the judge told Verhest. “If you don’t take it, you’ll deserve prison and I’ll give you prison.”

Verhest was before the judge today for sentencing Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

He found himself there on two cases. One resulted from a case in October when Verhest and a friend stole a purse from a woman in Boardman. The other took place in December in Austintown where Verhest and two others stole an SUV, led police on a chase and crashed the vehicle.

Verhest’s attorneys said he was young and got caught up with the wrong people.

Verhest pleaded guilty to attempted robbery, aggravated trafficking in drugs, receiving stolen property and obstructing official business.

He received three years’ probation, and the judge ordered him to earn his GED and maintain employment. Judge D’Apolito said Verhest’s youth played a role in his decision.

Michael Sullivan, 22, of Struthers received one year probation for his involvement in the purse snatching. Michael Wilson, 24, of Warren will be sentenced for his role in the auto theft at a later date.

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