YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Federal authorities Wednesday filed criminal complaints against two men who are suspects in the robberies of several stores in Youngstown and surrounding area.
Edgar Ramirez, 22 and Melvin Jackson, 18, both of Youngstown, were each charged in federal court with interference with interstate commerce by threats of violence.
Both men are in the Mahoning County Jail. They have been there since they were arrested Monday by Youngstown police following a short chase after an East Side Dollar General store was robbed earlier in the day.
An affidavit accompanying the case in federal court said Jackson confessed to taking part in at least seven robberies dating back to October at stores in Youngstown, including a Family Dollar on Oak Street; a Speedway gas station on Meridan Road; the Dollar General store on Belmont Avenue; a Dollar General store on McGuffey Road; and a Subway on East Midlothian Boulevard in addition to robberies at a Speedway on Midlothian Boulevard in Boardman and a Kwik Fill gas station in Struthers.
Also in the affidavit, a federal agent said he identified a revolver that was found in a car Jackson was driving. After watching surveillance, the agent said determined it was used in six of the robberies, while a 9mm handgun that police said belonged to Ramirez was used in four of those robberies.
Police and federal agents were also able to seize clothing worn by the men in the robberies, including shoes, the affidavit said.
The stores, which the affidavit says “sells goods shipped interstate,” were forced to close for periods of time, which is why the criminal complaint was filed against the two men.
The affidavit lists the take from three of the robberies as $3,932.62, although $3,386 of that was taken from one store when the robbers managed to get access to the safe.
Ramierz and Jackson were caught Monday afternoon after a pair of police detectives who were staking out stores in Youngstown spotted a car that was suspected of being used in the robberies.
Federal agents also were able to identify Jackson through a stolen credit card that was used to purchase food deliveries, the affidavit said. The affidavit said Jackson had food delivered to one of the homes agents were staking out 31 times on the stolen card since May.
Police Chief Robin Lees said detectives will continue to investigate to determine if the pair were involved in any other robberies.
Lees said he is glad the federal court system will prosecute the two because federal prison sentences are often longer and parole is harder to get. He said the U.S. Attorneys Office is also prosecuting more gun cases.
Lees stressed that if possible, suspects will be prosecuted federally because of the longer sentences.
“We’re going to prosecute you in federal court every time if it means more jail time,” Lees said.
The pair are expected in court Thursday for an arraignment. There is no word yet on when a preliminary hearing will be scheduled.