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Man pleads guilty to bank robbery

YOUNGSTOWN — Robert T. Porter IV, 45, of Struthers Road in New Middletown, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to robbing the Premier Bank branch on Kirk Road in Austintown on Feb. 26, 2021.

He will be sentenced 1 p.m. June 9 by Judge J. Phillip Calabrese, who is presiding over the case. The sentencing will take place after the U.S. Pretrial and Probation Department carries out an investigation of Porter’s background and criminal history. Porter remains in federal custody while awaiting sentencing.

Austintown police said Porter robbed the bank by passing a note to a teller that read, “This is a robbery,” to which the teller replied: “No way,” according to a police report.

He replied, “Yes hurry,” and the teller opened the drawer, took out about $5,000 and handed it over. Porter fled in a gray Pontiac.

While at the bank, officers learned a Pontiac matching the description of the one Porter used was reported stolen from Boardman about 2 p.m. the same day, a police report states.

Police then learned Youngstown police were responding to a vehicle fire in the 3300 block of Loveland Avenue that also matched the vehicle’s description.

On the way to the fire, officers found a man walking on Midlothian Boulevard who matched the robber’s description and was identified as Porter. He was arrested by Austintown police and was taken to the county jail.

When officers arrived at the burning vehicle, the license plates matched the stolen vehicle, the report states.

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