YOUNGSTOWN - Police Chief Rod Foley Friday credited the work of a patrol officer for helping detectives nab a man they think is responsible for several West Side robberies.
John Byrns, 48, 1922 W. Midlothian Blvd., was arrested Thursday evening at his home and is expected to be charged with the Wednesday robbery of a PNC Bank on Meridian Road.
Investigators also think Byrns is responsible for the March 25 robbery of the Italian Specialties Store on Canfield Road and a robbery at Rite Aid in Austintown in the Cornersburg area as well as a bank on Kirk Road.
Youngstown Police Chief Rod Foley is interviewed.
Byrns was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center for a medical condition and is expected to be arraigned in Municipal Court once he is released from the hospital.
Foley said they received tips that the person responsible for the robberies may have lived in the Hopkins Road Midlothian Boulevard area and that investigators had a very good description of the car he was driving from the PNC Bank robbery.
Patrolman Anthony Vitullo had a description of the car when he spotted it at Byrns' home while he was on patrol, Foley said. Detectives were then called and they watched the house for a short time before getting a search warrant.
Foley said investigators seized the car Byrns was driving and other evidence inside the home linking Byrns to the Youngstown robberies and possibly others, but he would not say what that evidence was.
He said he was not sure if Byrns had a record but said personal circumstances may have led him to the recent crime spree.
''He went down the slippery slope here,'' Foley said.
Foley said that most of the crimes Byrns is suspected of committing were not very thought out. He said it was mostly a case of Byrns seeing an opportunity to steal something and taking advantage of it.
''There was not much thought process going on here,'' Foley said.