Couple accused of stealing St. Christine Church donation box - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Couple accused of stealing St. Christine Church donation box

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Jon Pandone (L) Heather Bara (R) Jon Pandone (L) Heather Bara (R)

A Youngstown couple is in jail, accused of stealing a raffle donation box from St. Christine Church on Sunday.

The two were caught shortly after the theft was reported after the 10:30 am mass after a person selling tickets for a charitable raffle said that a woman who had been pacing back and forth near the collection table grabbed the collection box saying, “I'm sorry I have to do this”.

Witnesses say the woman took the box and jumped into a waiting car which drove away on South Schenley Avenue.

Police traced the car to 39-year-old Heather Bara, who witnesses say had been at mass with 33-year-old Jon Pandone, who according to police records live together on South Schenley Avenue.

According to the police report, both suspects are known to be heroin users.

Just before 1 pm that same day, a patrolman pulled the car over on South Hazelwood Avenue.

The officer said that after telling the two that they were suspects in the church theft, Bara told him that the rest of the money was in her pants and said the theft was “a moment of desperation”.

She said they needed the money to pay for a motel room in Boardman.

Police say a plastic baggie containing suspected heroin fell from the woman's shirt just as she was being arrested.

The report says Bara told the officer that she bought the heroin at a home on South Portland Avenue on Youngstown's West Side.

Pandone, who was identified in part from an injury to his eye which police investigated last Thursday, told police he didn't have any drugs with him.

However, police say they found a bag of heroin that had been ripped open and left in the police cruiser that brought Pandone to jail.

Pandone was arrested in Austintown earlier this month on drug charges. Now he's been charged with theft, possessing drug abuse instruments, and tampering with evidence.

Bara is charged with heroin possession and theft.

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