Stolen police-car case leads indictments

YOUNGSTOWN — The two women accused in the July theft of a Struthers police cruiser were indicted this week on various charges by a Mahoning County grand jury.

Tara R. Oder, 35, of Youngstown, is charged with aggravated robbery, robbery, grand theft motor vehicle, obstructing official business and escape; while Linda Bennett, 36, also of Youngstown, is charged with escape and failure to appear.

No court date is scheduled and Oder remains incarcerated pending the posting of a $60,000 bond, while Bennett’s bond was continued, court records show.

On July 29, Oder and Bennett were being transported from the Struthers Municipal Building after a court appearance to the county jail, when Oder took control of a police car a block from the jail, Struthers police said.

The officer put the vehicle in park and stepped out. Oder then put the cruiser in drive and drove off, nearly hitting the officer and an off-duty officer who stopped to help.

Police said Bennett is not believed to have assisted Oder.

The vehicle was found a short time later in a nearby neighborhood in Youngstown. Bennett and Oder were seen boarding a Western Reserve Transit Authority bus near the Rescue Mission in Youngstown.

Oder was apprehended in early August by the U.S. Marshals Service. Meanwhile, a Warren police report states an officer was dispatched last month to Rise Recovery at 1977 Niles Road SE to arrest Bennett, who had a warrant through Struthers Municipal Court.

In another felony case, a Youngstown man who was convicted in a 2016 assault was indicted on repeat offender and prior conviction specifications in a July 11 attack at Shotz Bar in Austintown.

Sam Daviduk, 25, 1324 Dogwood Lane, is charged with felonious assault in a direct presentment to the grand jury. Police said the victim in the bar fight was found unconscious and bleeding and was sent to the intensive care unit with a brain bleed. A video of the fight showed Daviduk grabbing the victim, choking him, throwing him to the ground, and kicking him in the head several times.


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