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Internet surveillance leads to arrest, recovery of stolen athletic items

December 15, 2012

LINCOLN – A local youth sports volunteer’s internet surveillance effort helped police recover a trove of stolen goods from a local man’s apartment Thursday.
The volunteer had been keeping an eye out for items that the Lincoln Youth Soccer Association lost in a September break-in at Public Self Storage on Washington Highway and hit paydirt while checking out sports equipment offerings on the Craigslist website, according to Police Chief Brian Sullivan.
The resulting investigation led to the arrest of Robert J. Giammarco, 24, of Smithfield Avenue, on felony charges of receiving stolen goods and the online sale of stolen goods.
The soccer association had lost equipment such as soccer balls, shin guards and portable goals in its storage unit on Washington Highway and the volunteer came across an offering of soccer equipment on Craigslist that included photographs appearing to be of the association’s missing items, Sullivan said.
After making arrangements to see the equipment, the volunteer and other association members went to local police for help in determining whether the items did, in fact, belong to the youth sports group.
Detective Casey Free and Patrolman Jason Bolduc posed as prospective buyers of the soccer items while visiting Giammarco at his apartment Thursday afternoon and were invited to check out what he had for sale in the apartment, Sullivan said. While looking the items over, the investigators observed LYSA lettering on several items of equipment still in the box.
The police also observed a large quantity of other items in the apartment that they suspected could also be stolen goods.
Giammarco was taken into custody on the stolen goods and online sales charges. A warrant was also obtained for further investigation of the other items in the residence, Sullivan said.
“We have secured the items and are working with other police departments to see if they are stolen,” Sullivan said. The case remained under investigation on Friday and Sullivan said additional charges could be lodged against the suspect depending on its outcome. Several storage areas had been broken into during the September incident at Public Self Storage and detectives were also checking to determine if any items missing in those breaks were among the goods found in Giammarco’s apartment, Sullivan said.
Sullivan termed the soccer association member’s role in finding the online listing of the missing equipment as a key break in the recovery of the stolen items.
“He got the ball rolling, no pun intended,” Sullivan said. The effort will also help the association recover a significant quantity of its missing equipment, Sullivan said.
“He was trying to sell them for $2,000 so I’m sure the value of the items is well over $2,000,” Sullivan said.
The items were being processed as evidence by the department and cataloged, and will eventually be returned to the association, he said.
Giammarco was arraigned on the local charges at Kent County District Court and ordered held at the ACI as a probation violator over pending breaking and entering charges in Johnston and Coventry, according Sullivan. A hearing on the probation violation was expected to be held next week.

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