Ohio man breaks into woman’s home, showers

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YOUNGSTOWN, Oh. — Loraine Centofanti said she’s still cleaning up from the mess she claims one man left behind.

“This is not a human being that did this. It has to be an animal. Humans– a person doesn’t do this.”

Police said 33-year-old Jacob Merchant broke into her house and four others on the city’s upper southside over the last week or so.

Centofanti actually caught him in her bathroom when she came home from work late Tuesday night.

“And he’s in here sitting down like this with the shower going, rinsing his hair.”

While she ran out of the house and called police, she said Merchant ran out as well. Detectives caught up with him Sunday after he was spotted getting aboard a WRTA bus.

“He has a lengthy record for burglary and theft offenses,” said Lt. Doug Bobovnyik with the Youngstown Police Department.

Merchant reportedly admitted to the five break-ins, saying he was just trying to keep warm and find something to eat.

Detective Sgt. Mike Cox said in each case the suspect also brought with him bags of food, cigarettes and beer. He also confirmed he was caught on camera at the Shell convenience store just around the corner shortly before authorities say he kicked in Centofanti’s door.

“He admitted to us that he went in about an hour after he bought everything, so he was probably there four and a half hours.”

Centofanti said Merchant trashed every room in her house, leaving food, filth and debris all around.

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