Robbery gets man 8 years in prison

LISBON — A man who went on a robbery spree to feed his drug addiction was sentenced to eight years in prison this week by Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike.

Patrick A. Lattanzio, 28 — whose addresses list him at East North Avenue, East Palestine, and Morton Avenue, East Liverpool — was charged initially with a possession of drugs charge for having less than a gram of heroin on Feb. 29, 2016.

Chief Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble said it would appear Lattanzio left his substance abuse problem unaddressed and instead went on to commit three known robberies to support his habit.

Lattanzio’s defense attorney, James Wise, agreed with Gamble’s assessment that sadly Judge Pike is familiar with Lattanzio’s name, but also added it is sad what the drug epidemic has done to drive people.

“I would like to start by apologizing to my victims, the county and my family,” Lattanzio said. “I’m better than this … I’m not a criminal.”

He went onto admit his actions placed his victims in danger and how sorry he was for doing so. Additionally, Lattanzio said he was a victim of the “drug dealers who plague our streets.” He said he was tired of being sick day after day and found he would do anything not to be sick.

“I know what I did was wrong,” Lattanzio said. “I need rehabilitation, not detention.”

He went onto to suggest his a prison sentence would “destroy” him and asked for help with his addiction problem instead.

He also apologized to his family for “all the lies I’ve told and all the tears I have caused.”

While sentencing Lattanzio to the eight years requested by Gamble, Pike noted by Lattanzio’s reasoning that he should not be sent to prison to be with other prisoners was not a sound one. By that argument, Pike said, he would never send anyone to prison. He also noted part of his job is to protect the public and it would appear the public needs protected from Lattanzio.

Following the initial drug offense, Lattanzio was charged with complicity to robbery for assisting his brother, Daniel F. Lattanzio, in robbing the Family Dollar Store in East Palestine on Dec. 2, 2016. While Patrick Lattanzio was in line to purchase an item, his brother allegedly came into the store, forcibly grabbed the cashier and demanded money.

While the drug charge and the complicity to robbery charge were both still pending and while Patrick Lattanzio was out on bond, he then committed two additional robberies leading to two more cases against him.

Gamble pointed out the court likes to trust defendants while awaiting their trial by allowing them to be out on bond, but Lattanzio just continued his behavior.

One case charged him with aggravated robbery and falsification from his actions Aug. 15. He went into Gilkinson’s Short Stop in East Liverpool, demanding money from the clerk, displaying a knife and wrestling with a customer before fleeing the store.

He then reportedly gave a fake name of Jason A. Mewes and a fake birthdate of May 4, 1991 after he was apprehended. Jason Mewes is actually the actor who plays Jay in the Kevin Smith movies like “Clerks” and “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.”

The misdemeanor falsification charge has been dismissed.

The second case charged him with robbery and abduction stemming from his actions on July 20, when he entered the Save-A-Lot store in Columbiana after closing, pushed the employee, Melody Workman to the front of the store, demanded money and then stole her purse because the cash register was empty.

Daniel Lattanzio, 23, Alliance, currently has a jury trial slated for March for two pending robbery charges.