NORTHFIELD VILLAGE Charges have been dropped against Twinsburg resident Justin Melinis, 29, who was arrested June 20 in connection to the June 2 armed robbery of the Northfield Village CVS. He was released July 3 on recommendation of Northfield Village Law Director Brad Bryan.
Bryan, who serves as village prosecutor, said an individual arrested in another jurisdiction gave police information that showed that individual was responsible and that Melinis is innocent. He could not name the other community.
"There's been a string of these burglaries, it's a multi-department kind of investigation, the FBI is involved ... another arrest has been made for a different one, and in the course of investigating that robbery, it led us to believe that person committed our robbery," Bryan said. "It was one of those things where we did not want to keep somebody in jail who we knew we had strong evidence that it's not the right person."
Bryan would not comment on why Melinis was a suspect.
Melinis' attorney Emily Durway said Melinis had been facing a first-degree felony charge of aggravated robbery.
"They got the wrong person. He is innocent," Durway said. "I'm very glad they took a second look at the case. This has all been very hard on him."
Durway said Melinis had health issues in the spring and was in the process of obtaining a new job when he was arrested.
"There were FBI agents at his work questioning people, he spent time in jail and that kind of made the company not want to hire him," she said. "Not only were the charges dropped but he is not even a suspect any more."
Northfield Village Police Officer in Charge Sgt. John Zolgus said he could not comment on the continuing investigation.
The robbery happened around 9:30 p.m. on June 2. Police say a man brandished a gun and told a store clerk "Give me all the money in the register."
Following the robbery, police said the suspect eluded them during a foot chase.
At the time, Zolgus said police believe the man is also responsible for robberies in Twinsburg, Oakwood Village and Warrensville Heights and were working with FBI officials but declined to provide any further information on the investigation or subsequent arrest.
Eric Marotta: 330-541-9433