Bond set for suspect in Niles Direct Jewelry Outlet heist

WARREN — A man charged in the 2017 robbery of a Niles jewelry store pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday morning.

Ronald McDonel, 57, was indicted Tuesday on three counts of aggravated robbery and three counts of kidnapping — all first-degree felonies and with firearm specifications — in the armed robbery of Niles Direct Jewelry Outlet on April 25, 2017.

McDonel is one of three men charged in the robbery. Cedis R. Martin, 32, and Zachary Bradford, 37, both were charged within days of the robbery, according to previous media reports. Both already have been sentenced to state prison for their roles in the heist.

Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Michael A. Burnett said McDonel, who is originally from Detroit, went back to that city following the robbery. He was arrested in Detroit on a Trumbull County warrant earlier this month and transported by bus to Warren, Burnett said.

Niles police Chief Jay Holland said the warrant had been active since shortly after the robbery took place.

Burnett said McDonel is facing three charges of aggravated robbery and kidnapping, respectively, because he and the other two men held three people at gunpoint during the robbery.

The three men took more than $300,000 worth of merchandise and cash from the store on state Route 46, according to police. Burnett said items also were taken from the three individuals in the store.

A witness was able to get the license plate number on the robbers’ getaway vehicle, which led police to Martin and Bradford, according to previous media reports.

Bradford was sentenced in October 2017 to seven years in prison for his role in the robbery, court records show. Martin was sentenced in November 2017 to four years in prison. Both men received a plea deal, court records show.

McDonel is set to appear before Judge Rondald J. Rice for a May 2 pretrial. He is being held in the Trumbull County Jail on a $50,000 bond.