Man charged with theft in Vienna

Curtis Kothera

VIENNA, Ohio (WKBN) — A Vienna Township man is facing a theft charge after police said he stole money from a teacher who had just cashed her paycheck.

Curtis R. Kothera, 54, of Smith Stewart Road, was arrested Monday. He was arraigned in Girard Municipal Court and was released after posting bond. He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 19.

Officer Bob Ludt said the woman was at the Certified Gas Station at 277 Youngstown-Kingsville Road Friday morning and had the money in a bank envelope, which she set on the counter after paying for her gas and cigarettes. She walked out of the store, leaving the envelope containing more than $500 on the counter.

Ludt said surveillance video inside the store shows an elderly man behind the woman touch the envelope, but leave it on the counter. A woman behind him pushed the envelope toward the clerk, the video shows.

A third customer is seen on surveillance video coming up to the counter and when the clerk turned away, he slid the envelope closer to him. When the clerk turned her back again, the man picked up the envelope and put it in his pocket, the video shows.

Ludt said surveillance video outside shows the man get into an older model tan or gold Chevy S-10 extended cab pickup with custom wheels and custom tail lights.

Once the theft was discovered, police watched the video and officers recognized the suspect, but did not know his name. A clerk at the store said the man comes into the gas station two or three times a day, but she also did not know his name.

While on patrol on Saturday, Ludt saw a pickup matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle. After obtaining the license plate, Ludt matched the owner’s BMV photo to the surveillance video and also had the clerk positively identify him as the man who was in the store when the theft occurred.

 

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