Man convicted in home invasion

WARREN – A jury took less than an hour Wednesday to convict a Warren man in a home invasion last summer when victims clearly identified the suspect by his Ohio State sweatshirt.

Even though defense attorney Alan Matavich insisted that testimony from victims and police told of a suspect with a bandanna and a ball cap covering the man’s face, assistant county prosecutor Gina Buccino-Arnaut convinced the three woman and nine men on the panel that there was no mistaking the sweatshirt worn by John Thompson, 40, of Dickey Avenue N.W.

Thompson has been in Trumbull County Jail in lieu of $150,000 since his arrest June 15 after a police dog from Warren tracked him down in a wooded area near the North Park Avenue home of Linda Farr and her son, Brandon. Police said he’d just left the home after a break-in.

Farr testified that she was awakened that night by a noise and saw Thompson crawling in through a window. She said he threatened her with a crowbar and forced her to take him to different rooms in the house so he could find things to steal.

In the process, Farr dialed 911 and left the phone off the hook, allowing police to arrive soon.

When he was about to leave the home, Farr’s son came up from the basement and grabbed on to a red gym bag that contained many of the valuables, including CDs, jewelry and electronic equipment. Thompson dropped the bag and wound up wrestling with a Warren Township officer before fleeing.

When he was finally found, police found a piece of computer equipment on Thompson that belonged to Farr’s son, according to testimony.

Thompson, who already has done prison time for robbery, was convicted of aggravated burglary, kidnapping and possession of criminal tools, and faces up to 20 years when Judge Peter Kontos sentences him on Jan. 13.