Internet cafes robbed

Police in two cities are investigating Monday night robberies at separate Internet cafes – one in Warren and the other in Youngstown.

No injuries were reported in either robbery.

A clerk at Lots of Loot, 2004 North Road S.E., Warren, told police that two men, one dressed as a woman and the other in all black with a bandanna over his face, came into the establishment about 10:54 p.m., pulled guns and took money from the cash register.

When reached by telephone on Tuesday, a woman who identified herself as a manager at Lots of Loot said the establishment had no comment. She did not provide her name.

According to a Warren police report, clerk Zayne Pappada, 20, said a man dressed as a woman approached him at the counter and the two had a conversation about the business.

Pappada told police the man opened a purse and showed him a handgun, the report states. The man then ordered the clerk to open the cash register and to unlock the rear door of the business located behind Pappada, the report states. Pappada told police he complied.

After the door was opened, a second man brandishing a small rifle came in, the report states. The second man was dressed in black and had a bandanna over his face.

The report states he pointed the weapon at the clerk and ordered him to get the additional cash in another room of the business. However, that cash had been picked up earlier by the business owner, the report states.

The second gunman then ordered the clerk to the floor as the other man emptied the cash register, reports state.

Seven customers were in the establishment at the time who were ordered by one of the gunmen to get on the floor, according to the police report.

The man took several purses, cell phones and cash from customers.

The report states that at one point, one of the men held his handgun to a customer’s head and ordered him to the floor.

The men then fled out the rear door, the report states. They made off with more than $3,000 in cash, the police report indicates.

In Mahoning County, a cashier at Internet Palace on the corner of East Midlothian Boulevard and Shady Run Road told city police that two men came into the business around 10:50 p.m. Monday.

One man, wearing a gray and black camouflage jacket and green baseball hat pointed a gun at the clerk and ordered her to give him all the money, reports state.

The second man, who was wearing a Pirates hat and had his face covered, grabbed an undisclosed amount of cash from the drawer, according to reports. The pair fled on foot.

Jim Venerosa, owner / manager at Internet Palace, said 20 to 25 people were inside the business during the robbery, but no one was hurt. He said his staff is trained to handle situations like the one they had on Monday.

“The procedures we have worked and everybody is safe,” he said. “That’s the important thing. Youngstown police did a heck of a job. I’m just grateful no one got hurt and they didn’t get a whole lot of money. My clerk was shaken up, of course, but she did what she was supposed to do, followed procedure and handled herself well.”

Venerosa said in the 4 1/2 years his business has been open, “nothing like this has happened before.”

“In that time we’ve only had to call police once,” he said.

He said he could not provide more details of the robbery because police are still investigating. However, he confirmed investigators are reviewing surveillance video.