Police: Couple takes off with cash box from Youngstown church

Police said one of the suspects told a church worker, "I'm sorry I have to do this," before running out and taking off

Both Johanan Pandone and Heather Bara were charged with theft and drug possession.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Police say a couple attended mass at a church in Youngstown then took off with a box full of money.

Police were called about 11:40 a.m. Sunday to St. Christine’s Church on Schenley Avenue after a woman grabbed a cash box containing $300 to $400 from a raffle.

According to a police report, a church worker told police that the couple, later identified as Johanan Pandone, 33, and Heather Bara, 39, had attended mass but left before communion.

Later, the woman came back and took the cash box that was sitting on a table where raffle tickets were being sold for a fundraiser. The church worker said the woman told her, “I’m sorry I have to do this,” before she ran out and jumped into a car that Pandone was driving and took off, according to the report.

Police were able to track down the couple from their description and the fact they had dealt with them before and recognized the getaway car.

Police pulled over the couple on S. Hazelwood Avenue. Police said when Bara got of the car, a baggie of suspected heroin fell out of her shirt. Police also found a crack pipe and spoon in the car, the report stated.

Bara told police they took the money in a “moment of desperation” to get a place to sleep that night and that they had been staying at the Wagon Wheel Motel in Boardman. She also said they had just purchased heroin from a house on S. Portland Avenue and that the remaining cash they didn’t spend was down the front of her pants, according to the report.

Both Pandone and Bara were charged with theft and drug possession. Pandone faces an additional charge of tampering with evidence after police say they found a torn open bag of heroin in the back of the cruiser where Pandone had been sitting.

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