Man pleads guilty in Niles church theft

Michael Marrara pleaded guilty to grand theft charges in connection to church theft in Niles, Ohio.

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Niles man pleaded guilty in Trumbull County Court Wednesday in connection with a theft from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.

Michael Marrara, 58, pleaded guilty before Judge Wyatt McKay on grand theft charges. Prosecutors say he took $97,000 to pay for vacation and his daughter’s tuition.

Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker said this was an unusual case compared to some other thefts he has prosecuted.

“This is one of the first times I’ve seen someone actually steal from a church to this magnitude. Unfortunately, we see a lot of thievery and often times the person, if they access to the cash, sometimes they just go haywire,” Becker said.

Several parishioners at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Fr. John-Micheal Lavelle said Marrara was the head of church maintenance for more than 10 years. He was also head of the parish festival committee.

Marrara is due back in court in a few weeks for sentencing. He face up to 18 months in prison.

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