YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The original Handel’s ice cream shop in Youngstown plans to reopen after a robbery forced it to close temporarily.
Men with guns robbed the store on the corner of Market Street and Midlothian Boulevard early Saturday morning.
Police believe the people who did it were also involved in robberies at a CVS and used car lot. Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the robbers.
People living in the Handel’s neighborhood, which gets its name from the original ice cream shop, also plan to help.
Dave Starr, president of the Handel’s Neighborhood Association, directed his comments to Handel’s owner Leonard Fisher.
“We want to show Mr. Fisher and the Handel’s company that our neighborhood cares and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep him here,” Starr said.
He met with Fisher Thursday and volunteered the neighborhood association’s efforts to keep the Handel’s location open.
“Just to brighten it, to clean it up, give it better curb appeal,” Starr said.
A clean-up day is being planned to cut down and haul away the overgrowth of vegetation along the fence.
They want Dominion Energy to brighten up the unattractive green building near the parking lot and paint or replace the fence.
The landlord of a building next door has agreed to paint it, and across the street, they’re talking about a mural on the back of a building that fronts Handel’s.
Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees said they’ll do what they can to help Handel’s, but he needs the community’s help, too.
“Collectively — which is what we like to see happen — and, again, with our community police officers, is to take a community view of this and do everything that can be done as a group to address the problem,” he said.
Starr said the original Handel’s is a destination point for their community and they want to keep it that way.
On Friday, management at Handel’s released the following statement:
As most of you may know by now, the original Handel’s on the corner of Market St. and Midlothian Blvd. was robbed at gunpoint Saturday morning by three unknown suspects.
As we approach our 75th anniversary of doing business in Youngstown, this is the first time we have ever experienced this kind of violence.
In an effort to protect our employees and customers, we have temporarily suspended business operations at this location. This has been done to evaluate protective security measures.
We have reached out to city officials and local leaders to see what more can be done to serve the city and the local neighborhoods in the safest way possible.
Our plan is to reopen…plain and simple.
We would appreciate any help from the public to help identify those individuals who are responsible.
Those security measures will include more outside lighting.
The ice cream shop is expected to be closed for about two weeks.
Lees said his department is putting emphasis on finding the three men involved in the robbery. He pointed out they’re using guns and someone could get hurt.
He knows they’ve talked or bragged about what they’ve done, and he’s urging anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 330-746-CLUE.