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Local news briefs — Oct. 18


DNA links suspect

AKRON: DNA has linked an Akron man to the beating death of a woman whose body was found earlier this month near an East South Street vacant building, police said.

Tyrone Benford, 41, is charged with murder in the Oct. 4 death of Lori Patch, 53.

His bond on the murder charge was set at $1 million following his appearance Friday in Akron Municipal Court.

Police say they arrested Benford on unrelated charges of breaking and entering about 45 minutes after Patch’s body was found behind the vacant building. Witnesses reported seeing a man with Patch around the time of the killing.

Police say Patch was homeless at the time.

Benford was being held in the Summit County Jail while DNA on blood found on his clothing was tested, police Lt. Rick Edwards said.

Detectives received word this week that the blood matched Patch, he said.

Man gets 15 years

AKRON: A 28-year-old Akron man was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison for the armed robbery of a Family Dollar store on Vernon Odom Boulevard.

Joseph K. Burnett Jr., of Copley Road, pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, kidnapping, possessing a weapon under felony disability and a firearm specification. His sentence also includes a three-year term for a probation violation.

On March 18, Burnett was spotted acting suspiciously, prosecutors said. A store employee called 911 after Burnett pulled up the hood on his sweatshirt. He pulled a gun on a cashier, then ordered the cashier, another employee and three customers to various places in the store to get to the safe.

Police arrived as Burnett was waiting for an employee to open the safe. He ran out the back door but was quickly caught, prosecutors said, hiding under the porch of a nearby home.

Access restricted

AKRON: Beginning Monday, patrons of Firestone Metro Park will be able to access the Tuscarawas Meadows and Little Turtle Pond entrances only from the north, via Swartz Road off of South Main Street.

Harrington Road will be closed at Warner Road, at the southeast corner of the 258-acre park, as a contractor for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources continues to renovate the dam on Harrington Road.

Work began this summer and will continue into 2014.

Hiking trails, picnic areas and naturalist-led programs at Firestone Metro Park will not be affected.

For more information, go to or call 330-867-5511.


Fraud allegations

CLEVELAND: A Stow man has been charged in a 10-count federal indictment over an alleged scheme in which he ordered more than $744,000 in equipment at his company and resold it for personal profit, authorities said.

Thomas A. Steiger, 45, faces six counts of wire fraud and four counts of interstate transportation of property obtained by fraud.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland, the scheme played out from January 2011 through January 2013, when Steiger was employed as building manager of the Voith Industrial Services plant in Walton Hills. The company had a contract with Ford Motor Co. to provide parts and repairs service for heavy equipment at the Walton Hills stamping plant.

Federal Prosecutor Steven Dettelbach said Steiger ordered equipment that neither Voith nor Ford needed. After Voith paid for the equipment, Steiger had it delivered to himself, resold it to third parties and had the payments wired to his personal bank account.


Talk on going green

NORTON: The Barberton, Norton, Wadsworth Peace Group will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Grace United Church of Christ, 3285 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Norton.

Dave and Olivia Evans will speak on “How to Build an Energy Efficient House and Live More Green.”

Refreshments will be served.

The public is invited.


Homeowner shot

PLAIN TWP.: A Plain Township man is recovering from bullet wounds after he was shot twice by intruders Friday morning.

The Fairmont Street Northeast homeowner is being treated at Aultman Hospital in Canton for nonlife-threatening injuries, according to the Stark County Sheriff’s Office.

The victim was shot when he tried to stop two men who burst inside his home at about 7:30 a.m. The man’s wife and three children were not harmed.

The intruders fled the house after the shooting and have not been identified.

Anyone with information is asked to call sheriff’s deputies at 330 430-3800.


Mother charged

STOW: A 34-year-old mother who yelled at her child’s teacher has been charged with disorderly conduct.

A witness told police the woman was at Woodland Elementary School in Stow for a parent-teacher conference.

Police were called when the woman began yelling obscenities at the teacher.

The woman was charged and summoned to appear in Stow Municipal Court.


Deputies honored

AKRON: Four Summit County sheriff’s deputies who withstood gunfire trying to arrest a wanted felon have won the FBI’s Shield of Bravery award.

Detective Larry Brown, Deputy Larry Peters, Deputy Danny Francis and Deputy Shane Smith were recognized Friday at the Cleveland FBI field office.

More than 200 individuals were nominated for this award and only 12 were selected to receive this honor.

The four deputies were honored for their actions on June 19, 2012, as they tried to arrest an Akron man inside an Allyn Street house. Gunfire erupted when the suspect’s father fired a .357-caliber pistol and a bullet struck one deputy’s helmet.

Officers returned fire, but no one was injured.

A second shot was fired at another SWAT officer, but he was not harmed. Both suspects were arrested.


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