New Castle News

Closer Look

June 14, 2013

Ohio man suspect in Pulaski burglaries

NEW CASTLE — A man jailed after being arrested by police in Ohio may be responsible for burglaries in Pulaski Township.

Steven J. Direnzo, 41, of 954 Mathews Road, Boardman, was arrested Tuesday night. He was charged with driving under the influence, driving while under suspension, tampering with evidence and receiving stolen property by Boardman police and Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department detectives, who had used surveillance video to piece together several crimes.

Pennsylvania state police also are investigating Direnzo and may tie him to a home invasion and robbery on Route 551 in Pulaski Township.

He remains in the Mahoning County Jail on $9,250 bond.

Boardman police said they received a call of a “suspicious vehicle” in the grass at a business at 978 Mathews Road just before 7 p.m. Tuesday. Officers found a Jeep, which the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department had reported as stolen from Canfield Township. Officers said it appeared the Jeep had been pushed from the neighboring yard by another vehicle. A damaged license plate was found near the Jeep.

Police said they followed two sets of vehicle tracks to 954 Mathews Road, where Direnzo drove up in a white Dodge pick-up truck with front-end damage and a damaged passenger-side mirror. Officers said they recognized Direnzo.

After police and sheriff’s deputies reviewed surveillance tapes, a search warrant was obtained for Direnzo’s house. Police said they found a large amount of jewelry, tools, radio equipment, narcotics, drug paraphernalia and wallets. Police said they believe they found items taken from the Jeep in the garage.

“And when no one claimed ownership to these things, we thought we should take a second look,” the Boardman police officer said.

He noted Direnzo’s truck — with the damaged rear-view mirror — fit the description of a vehicle used in several home invasions in western Pennsylvania.

Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene said one of his detectives had heard details of the Pennsylvania break-ins on the radio.

The Boardman officer said his department is working with state police here.

“If the Pennsylvania state police go ahead and charge him, we will be happy to assist them in any way,” he said.

Police in Pulaski Township said they had been notified early Tuesday that the passenger of a white pickup truck had been seen knocking on doors of houses on Marr Road, Oak Street Extension and other locations.

They were told the person entered a house on Route 551 at 6:50 a.m. Tuesday. The elderly resident used her cell phone to call a neighbor who went to the house with a weapon and confronted the intruder, police said.

The neighbor chased the intruder to his vehicle, police were told, and damaged the truck’s passenger-side mirror.

“We put out the information and Boardman police found a truck matching the description,” a Pulaski Township police officer said. “They took him into custody on other charges.”

He said Boardman police notified state police, who have taken over the investigation.

Cpl. William Maitland of the state police’s New Castle station confirmed they are investigating.

“But we can’t say more until charges are filed.”

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