ATM bandit sentenced to 5 years

WARREN – A 19-year-old Youngstown man was sentenced to five years behind bars Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to robbing customers at an ATM machine on Belmont Avenue in Liberty.

Denzel Searcy, with addresses on Crandall Avenue and in New Castle, Pa., said nothing before Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Peter Kontos handed down the sentence.

The initial two counts of aggravated robbery were reduced to two counts of robbery in exchange for the plea.

Assistant county prosecutor Chris Becker said Searcy used a pellet or BB gun in the holdups that indictments say occurred Feb. 27 and March 7, 2013. Searcy and a juvenile were arrested directly after the March 7 robbery at the Chase ATM, 3999 Belmont St.

The case of 17-year-old Edthaniel Tarver of 552 Sycamore, Campbell, who was arrested with Searcy, was handled through Juvenile Court. Disposition of his case is unknown.

At the time, Liberty police Chief Richard Tisone said the pair were suspected in approximately nine ATM robberies that had taken place in Campbell, Youngstown and Liberty.

According to police, the two approached a woman’s vehicle March 7 as she was getting money from the ATM, stuck a weapon in her face and demanded cash. The woman’s child was in the rear seat of the vehicle.

The victim called the police, telling them that the two males left in a dark-colored vehicle.

Liberty police K9 officer Raymond Buhala spotted a black 2000 Ford Taurus while on patrol on Colonial Drive. He stopped the vehicle. Other officers soon arrived.

Searcy attempted to run but was captured shortly afterward.