HUBBARD TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A Sharon man is in an Ohio jail after an assault and a robbery in Mercer County.
Jason Michael Riley, 48, was arrested by Hubbard Township police shortly after 9 a.m. Friday morning at the Truck World truck stop on state Route 7 at Interstate 80. He was then taken to Trumbull County Jail, Hubbard Township police Chief Ronald Fusco said.
Riley was wanted by multiple departments for his alleged involvement in a series of incidents early Friday morning throughout Mercer County.
The Mercer County District Attorney’s office announced that Riley was accused of stabbing a victim seven times with a screwdriver early Friday at the Walmart in Hempfield Township. The victim’s injuries were non-life-threatening.
Some time later, Hermitage police said Riley was involved in a second incident at the Hermitage Dollar Tree store, 1950 E. State St.
According to the criminal complaint, a victim was going to work shortly after 5 a.m. Friday at the Dollar Tree. As the victim waited at the store’s door for her co-workers to let her inside, police said Riley pulled up in a van at high speed to the curb where the victim was waiting.
Riley got out of the van and put the victim in a bear hug, holding a screwdriver to the victim’s right side, and demanded money. The victim screamed, and Riley covered their mouth and threatened the victim with the screwdriver, police said.
The victim then gave Riley their purse, which contained only a box cutter and their vehicle’s keys. As the victim’s coworkers came to the front of the store, Riley ran to his vehicle and left, the complaint states.
The victim told Hermitage police Riley had followed her to the Dollar Tree from the Speedway convenience store on East Connelly Boulevard in Sharon. Surveillance images at Speedway confirmed that Riley had been there.
After reviewing the images, Hermitage police found a van with a matching description was the subject of an unauthorized-use complaint by the Sharon Police Department.
Police contacted the van’s owner, who said Riley took the vehicle about 5 p.m. Thursday to get cigarettes and other items. He was supposed to return to the owner’s residence, but police said he didn’t.
The van was later found by a Hubbard Township police officer at Truck World, and several other police units were called in before approaching the van. Fusco said Riley was cooperative during the arrest.
A Hermitage police detective was called to the scene, where he identified Riley and the vehicle. Two yellow-handled screwdrivers could be seen on the passenger seat.
Police said the van’s owner and the victim of the Dollar Tree robbery identified Riley as the suspect after being shown photos of Riley by police, the complaint states.
Riley was taken to Trumbull County Jail, and the van was towed into Mercer County. Police also found that Boardman Township police had issued a warrant for for Riley in 2020 for theft, Fusco said.
Riley is facing charges of robbery by threat of immediate serious injury and theft by unlawful taking of movable property for the Dollar Tree robbery. Charges had not been filed for the Walmart assault as of Friday afternoon, according to court documents.
Mercer County District Attorney Peter Acker said potential charges for the stabbing at Walmart could include aggravated assault causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon, due to the serious nature of stabbings and how the victim was stabbed multiple times.
“When you stab someone, you’re up close and personal, and there’s a lot of rage, as opposed to shooting someone from a distance,” Acker said.
Riley will appear before a judge in Trumbull County. If he waive his extradition, it would bring him to Mercer County in “a couple days.” If not, Acker said there would be a much lengthier process that would involve the governors of both Pennsylvania and Ohio and a hearing.
However, since defendants’ time in jail during the extradition process does not count toward any potential sentence, Acker said defendants tend to waive their hearing.
NOTE: All suspects are to be considered innocent until proven guilty in court.