Youngstown police arrest West Side man on gun charges

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YOUNGSTOWN — Reports said police found survival gear early today after answering a gunfire call on the West Side and arresting a man on weapons charges.

Officers were called about 12:30 a.m. to a home in the 200 block of South Schenley Avenue where they found Robert Varner, 45, of South Schenley, standing in the roadway in his bare feet pointing at a car saying that it was his and someone stole it. He claimed someone was still in it, reports said.

Reports said officers checked the car and found no one in it. When they went to check Varner, a Smith & Wesson .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol fell out of his pants. Varner told police he did not shoot anyone but fired the gun in the ground to scare them off.

Varner was booked into the Mahoning County jail on charges of carrying concealed weapons, being a felon in possession of a firearm and discharging a firearm within city limits. Court records show Varner is on probation for a felony charge of possession of cocaine, which prohibits him from having a firearm. He also pleaded no contest in 2014 to a misdemeanor count of assault, was found guilty and sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Reports said because of the gunfire officers checked Varner’s home to make sure there were no injured people inside. They found military style backpacks throughout his apartment, cases of water, empty magazines for AK-47 rifles and other unspecified “survival gear."

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