CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A man who claimed he was a missing Chicago-area teen is actually a 23-year-old Medina man with a criminal history, according to officials.
Brian Rini faces federal charges for the heartbreaking hoax. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, as well as federal officials from Ohio, Kentucky, and Illinois announced the charges on Friday around noon.
Cleveland 19 looked into the Rini’s past and found he has had at least 12 separate criminal cases in the Medina Municipal Court since 2013.
His convictions include theft, disorderly conduct, criminal trespass, passing bad checks and making false alarms.
According to police records, in 2017, Rini, who was 21 at the time, told Cleveland Police and the FBI he was a 17-year-old from Florida that had been involved in a sex trafficking ring.
The FBI took his fingerprints and confirmed his true identity.
Police say he’s also made multiple false reports about being raped by relatives, and claimed family members were stealing medications.
In 2012 and 2013, Rini was arrested for threatening to blow up Medina High School. Police reported they recognized Rini’s voice.
In 2015, police records showed Rini called police claiming he was from a gas company and stated there was a gas leak in the area.
In another bizarre case in 2015, Rini is also accused of signing up for a gym membership using a bad check. After his gym access was denied, according to court records, he pretended to be a gym employee, got behind the counter, and answered phones and took money from customers.
Rini just got out of state prison less than a month ago.. after serving a year and a half behind bars for burglary and vandalism.
He’s currently on parole for the next 3 years.
Last night, Rini’s brother Jonathon told Cleveland 19 the suspect had a long history of mental illness.
Court records show Rini has been ordered to undergo mental evaluations in the past.. but has been found competent to stand trial.
Pitzen is a missing child out of the Chicago area. He was reported missing May 12, 2011 when he was 6 years old.
The boy’s mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen, was found dead in a Rockford, Ill. hotel room after committing suicide at the time her son was reported missing.
Rini was informed of his rights during Friday’s court appearance, where the magistrate set a detention hearing for Tuesday, April 9 at 1:30 p.m.