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W.Va. man allegedly attempts to rob Newell Bridge toll booth

EAST LIVERPOOL — A Wheeling man is facing charges after he reportedly attempted to rob a toll booth attendant at the Newell Bridge early Wednesday morning.

According to East Liverpool police Chief John Lane, officers reponded to a panic alarm around 2:56 a.m. Wednesday on the Ohio side of the toll bridge, where West Sixth Street ends, following a report of an attempted armed robbery.

Officers spoke with Phil Savina, who was the attendant at the time, and he told police a tall, thin, white male with a dark beard who was wearing a gray sweatshirt had approached the booth, startling Savina to which he reported saying “You shouldn’t sneak up on me like that.”

Savina told police the man had his hand in his pocket, giving the appearance he had a gun. The man told Savina to give him the money in the booth, to which Savina said he didn’t have any money, showed the attempted robber his CCW (Carrying a Concealed Weapon) permit, and told him to leave.

According to Lane, Savina said the suspect fled, running east in the direction of West Drury Lane toward the East Liverpool City Hospital parking lot.

An officer relayed the suspect’s description via the police radio, to which another officer on patrol said he saw the man walking along Jefferson Street toward Fifth Street. Two other officers radioed and believed they had the suspect apprehended along West Drury Lane in the area of Jackson Street.

The man was later identified as 51-year-old Mark Pradonovich. According to Lane, Pradonovich provided a Wheeling, W.Va., address, but has been hanging out throughout the East Liverpool area for some time. Officers reviewed surveillance video at the booth, which, according to Lane, showed a man walking toward the toll booth wearing a black leather jacket and a blue toboggan hat with his pullie over the hat and carrying what was believed to be a pillow case.

“He matched the description and everything,” Lane said, “Officers did a really good job tracking him down and taking care of it.”

Officers later recovered the jacket and hat Pradonovich had been wearing.

The chief said Pradonovich was taken to the police station, where he told police he did not have an actual gun, but rather made the shape of a gun using his index finger and hand. He told police he did not have any money in his possession and fled after being threatened by the booth attendant with a gun.

Pradonovich was taken into custody and cited for robbery.

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