Fitch students charged in burglary

AUSTINTOWN – Two Austintown teens are charged in connection with a burglary that police say one teen admitted he had staged at his parents’ home to pay a drug debt.

Chase McKinney, 17, appeared in Mahoning County Juvenile Court Wednesday to face charges stemming from a September burglary at the home of Noah Suchora, 17. Suchora also is charged in the crime.

The students were arrested March 7 at Austintown Fitch High School, according to sources.

McKinney faces a felony charge of receiving stolen property and a misdemeanor count of possessing criminal tools, according to records at the Juvenile Justice Center. He was arraigned Wednesday and is set to return to court May 7.

According to police reports, officers responded Sept. 4 to a break-in at 1994 Woodgate St. The residents said someone had opened the garage door and ransacked and possibly stole items from the master bedroom.

A report indicates that during questioning, the victims’ son, Suchora, told police his drug dealers were threatening to kill him and his family if he did not repay a $600 debt. He said he directed McKinney to break into his parents’ house, steal three televisions and pawn them in order to raise money to pay back the dealers, reports states. Suchora said he gave McKinney the garage pass code.

An Xbox and jewelry initially were reported stolen. A pump-action shotgun and a digital scale also were recovered by police five days later, reports state.

Suchora’s parents told police not to pursue charges; however, the Mahoning County prosecutor charged Suchora with felony counts of theft and unlawful transactions in weapons, juvenile court records show. He was arraigned March 10 and is scheduled to return to court March 31.

Austintown Schools Superintendent Vincent Colaluca said he did not have information about the situation, but that even if a student is incarcerated, the district cannot deny the student’s right to an education. That includes, he said, participation in sports. Colaluca said only a parole officer has the authority to restrict school activities.

The Fitch varsity baseball roster lists Suchora as a pitcher.

According to the Student and Parent Athletic Handbook sign-off form, ”There is no fundamental right to participate in interscholastic activities and participation in a Austintown Local School District athletic program is a privilege.”

The detective handling the case declined to comment on the situation as the case is still under investigation.