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Alleged burglar tried to board school bus

MINERVA — A Salem man was arrested early Thursday after reportedly breaking into two homes and trying to board a school bus with children inside.

Columbiana County Sheriff Brian McLaughlin said deputies were called by a homeowner and neighbors at 6:31 a.m. Thursday after the man was reported breaking into homes in the area of Watts Street and Bayard Road outside of Minerva. Residents of both homes were there when the man, later identified as Benjamin R. Phillips, entered the houses.

McLaughlin said when entering homes did not work to get what he wanted, Phillips reportedly went out to get on a Minerva Schools bus, which was going through the area picking up students for the day.

Phillips reportedly stood in front of the bus to stop it and then hung off the mirrors before attempting to open the door. When he could not open the door, McLaughlin said Phillips then went around to the driver’s window and started beating on the window and yelling at the driver. When he started to walk down the side of the bus toward the back, the bus driver accelerated quickly and drove away.

Phillips, 46, Fourth Street, Salem, was still there when deputies arrived and immediately taken into custody. McLaughlin said Phillips had suspected drugs in his pocket, which will be tested before any possible drug-related charges are filed. However, Phillips was charged immediately with two counts of fourth-degree felony burglary and other charges could be pending.

He is expected to appear this morning for video arraignment in Columbiana County Municipal Court, while he remains in custody at the county jail.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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