July 24, 2016

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Man declared unfit for trial arrested again

MEDINA — A 40-year-old Burbank man who may be sent to a mental hospital for repeatedly stealing cars was arrested Tuesday, accused of rifling through a vehicle in Lodi.

Eugene Riffle’s arrest comes two weeks after a judge declared him unfit to stand trial for stealing a Lodi man’s pickup in September. That ruling was at least the fourth time Riffle was found incompetent in similar cases in two decades.

Eugene Riffle

Eugene Riffle

This time, Riffle was arrested on a charge of criminal mischief, a third-degree misdemeanor punishable by two months in jail and up to $500 in fines.

Lodi Police Chief Keith Keough said Riffle checked the handles on cars at Henry’s Auto Service, 509 Wooster St., until he found one unlocked.

“When he got to one that was unlocked, he started rifling through the center console looking for money,” Keough said. “That’s what he told us.”

Keough said he’s familiar with Riffle’s criminal activity because his department has arrested him several times.

Riffle is being held at the Medina County Jail on $500 bond.

County Prosecutor Dean Holman said Assistant Prosecutor Matt Razavi filed an “affidavit of civil commitment” against Riffle last week in county probate court, which would have Riffle committed if granted by Probate Judge Kevin W. Dunn.

Police have said Riffle steals vehicles to get “from Point A to Point B” and then goes about his business. He steals vehicles from the Lodi and Burbank areas when keys have been left inside, police said.

Doctors from the Psycho-Diagnostic Clinic of Akron said in Riffle’s last case that he has severe, permanent cognitive impairments.

Riffle has had at least nine felony cases in two decades in Medina and Wayne counties since 1996.

Charges against him have included vehicle theft, receiving stolen motor vehicles, aggravated vehicular assault, unauthorized use of motor vehicles, breaking and entering, and stealing checks.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.