Man accused of trying to steal auto parts shot in Gustavus Township

Local News

A man accused of trying to steal auto parts is recovering in a hospital after being shot early Thursday

GUSTAVUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Deputies in Trumbull County continue to investigate after they say a man trying to steal a car part was shot early Thursday morning.

Investigators say 39-year-old David Evans, of Warren, was shot with a shotgun by a homeowner who spotted someone under a car in his driveway off Route 87 in Gustavus Township around 12:30 a.m.

“There’s a loud SUV that’s been driving back and forth between Gustavus Center and our neighbors at the top of the hill, and my husband went out to look and he said he saw somebody underneath our Accord, in our pulled open driveway, cutting the exhaust off,” the caller told dispatch.

Deputies spoke with the homeowner, who said he confronted the man, firing a warning shot in the air. He said the man then turned toward him with something in his hand, so he fired a shot toward his legs, hitting him.

Investigators said the suspected thief was on the ground next to a drill and a Hackzall. The report says there were two shotgun shells in the area.

“His wife and children were inside the home. He believed his life may be in jeopardy, so with that peril in mind, we really have to look closely at the conditions and all the circumstances involved in this crime,” said Trumbull County Sheriff Paul Monroe.

Investigators believe Evans, who they say had tools and the car on a jack, was trying to steal a catalytic converter.

They also say he was using a two-way radio to communicate with Jordan Riddle and Virgil Minniti, who were going to pick him up.

“They had a plan. They were prepared and they had an exit strategy secured already. I wouldn’t say it was a well-developed plan, but it was a plan,” Monroe said.

Kinsman police located the getaway vehicle and both Riddle and Minniti were taken into custody.

Riddle was arrested on a warrant for possession of methamphetamine, and Minitti had a warrant for an alleged probation violation in Liberty Township, according to the report. Crews took Evans to St. Elizabeth Health Center for treatment. Evans is still recovering, but he is expected to be all right.

All three suspects are facing different charges as investigators continue to gather evidence, which will then be handed over to the prosecutor’s office for review.

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