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Warren man gets indefinite sentences for arson cases

WARREN — A Warren man on Thursday was given consecutive indefinite sentences after his conviction for an Feb. 25 early-morning arson spree in the Niles area.

Nathaniel O’Brien, 31, 1307 N. Park Ave., was sentenced to a two-to-three-year term, and another consecutive two-year term, after he pleaded guilty to two aggravated arson charges.

Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Ronald J. Rice said the consecutive sentences — which total four to five years in prison — are necessary because of the “high-risk” of O’Brien reoffending.

Before sentencing, O’Brien read from a written statement in which he said he was sorry for the crimes and blamed it on his addiction to drugs.

“These are really tough lessons that I have to learn,” O’Brien stated.

Rice, however, said the seriousness of his offenses outweighed the remorse shown by the defendant.

“You are not a drug addict who commits crime, rather you are a criminal with a drug habit,” Rice said in noting O’Brien’s prior criminal record that includes two prison sentences.

Because of his conviction, Rice said O’Brien will have to register his personal information once a year for life because he is a convicted arsonist.

According to the indictment, the charges are related to fires set at the Cottage Inn in Niles and to a garden tractor behind Home Depot near the Hampton Inn in Howland.

Niles police also received a report that the Boscov’s department store under construction on the west side of the Eastwood Mall was broken into on Feb. 25, and the perpetrator ignited the blueprints in between two propane tanks inside the building.

According to a police report, O’Brien was staying at a room at the Cottage Inn, where a fire had been reported. Cottage Inn workers told police they had video of a man leaving the room when there appeared to be a glow of fire inside. The report states an electrical cord in the room that shorted out was the source of the fire.

Niles police also took a criminal damaging report that night outside the Target store at Eastwood Mall where a person threw a rock through the window of a pickup truck.

O’Brien was arrested by a Howland police officer at Home Depot after a man tried to steal a delivery truck outside that Howland store. According to the police report, the truck stalled, causing the suspect to run toward the store. Police tackled O’Brien to the store’s concrete floor, the report states.

Store employees who saw one tractor on fire told police they also observed the motor of another tractor running, and a suspicious man walking near the back of the store.

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