CUYAHOGA FALLS — The owner of a State Road pizza restaurant has been found guilty of felony charges related to an incident last August in which he chased down and fired a gun at an Akron man who allegedly stole money from a tip jar in his store.
Jeffrey Straughan, 53, of Center Avenue in Cuyahoga Falls, was found guilty of felonious assault with a gun specification, a second-degree felony; improper discharge of a firearm on a prohibited premises with a gun specification, a third-degree felony; and a first-degree misdemeanor count of aggravated menacing.
Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Alison Breaux is scheduled to sentence Straughan on Aug. 26, 2019, at 9:30 a.m.
Straughan’s attorney, John Chapman, declined to comment on the verdict. He previously said Straughan maintains he was justified in that he was defending himself from the man he had pursued.
Straughan owns East of Chicago Pizza on State Road in Cuyahoga Falls, as well as the East of Chicago Pizza on Norton Road in Stow. On Aug. 14, 2018, Straughan searched for, then confronted a 38-year-old man and accused him of stealing one dollar from a tip jar at the restaurant, according to a release from the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office.
Straughan pulled out a gun and fired it in the man’s direction at Portage Crossing Shopping Center, the release stated. No one was injured in the altercation.
According to Stow Municipal Court records, the Akron man later pleaded guilty to the theft charge and was fined $100, of which $75 was suspended.
Straughan, a Marine Corps veteran, was honored along with his wife in 2015 when Broad Boulevard was temporarily renamed in their honor for work they have done in the community to help people in need, including donating toys and other supplies, feeding the homeless in the restaurant and providing help to other veterans.
Eric Marotta can be reached at 330-541-9433, or firstname.lastname@example.org.