DJ Jewel Thief Nabbed in Larchmont
by Judy Silberstein
(May 12, 2005) Larchmont police apprehended a suspected jewel thief in busy downtown Larchmont at the corner of Chatsworth and Palmer Avenues around noon on Wednesday, May 11. Three plain-clothed detectives backed by a number of uniformed officers surprised the suspect as he was dashing across Chatsworth Avenue to his van parked at the corner. Arrested was Nicholas M. Chiapparino, age 40, from Yorktown Heights along with a companion who was later released.
According to Larchmont Police Detective Sergeant William Walsh, the arrest was the culmination of a joint investigation by Weston, Connecticut and Larchmont police into a theft from last August.
It all began with a sixteenth birthday party in a Weston home. After the party, a number of jewels were discovered missing, and suspicion fell on the DJ, Mr. Chiapparino, who had a prior record for minor offenses. Months later, the victim, a gemologist, came across one of her stolen items for sale in Manhattan.
According to Detective Carl Filsinger from the Weston Police Department, the woman recognized the antique platinum ring valued at $12,000 as one of the pieces of jewelry taken from her home. She contacted Detective Filsinger, who was able to trace the ring back to a jewelry store, La Gravinese Jewelers of Larchmont.
On investigation, police learned that Mr. Chiapparino had been attempting to sell the items through consignment to La Gravinese on Chatsworth Avenue. Larchmont police made arrangements for the suspect to return to the village to get back the jewelry and the consignment fee from the owner of the store, who was cooperating with the investigation, according to Detective Filsinger.
Mr. Chiapparino missed his first appointment, but as Larchmont Police Detectives Rocco Greco, James Christiano and William Walsh staked out the nearby intersection on Wednesday morning, the suspect turned up and picked up the previously consigned ring from the jewelry store owner, Robert La Gravinese. That’s when the suspect was nabbed, now with the jewelry back in his possession.
The Gazette first heard about the incident from Larchmont resident Mark Fichtel, who was driving down Chatsworth as police, some wielding what looked to him like assault weapons, converged at the intersection to help snatch the suspected thief. According to Detective Walsh, the suspect was unarmed and did not resist when he was arrested and charged with possession of stolen goods. However, police took precautions typical for felony arrest situations. With the involvement of jewels totaling $20,000 in value, this was considered a major felony arrest, according to Detective Filsinger.
“The detectives’ work was as expected – good as usual,” concluded Larchmont Police Captain Tom Sullivan later in the day. “They effected a major arrest and no one was injured.”
Detective Filsinger was more effusive with his praise. “Your police department is top notch,” he said when contacted after a long week of riding back and forth from Weston to Larchmont. “I can’t say enough about them, from the chief to the detectives who worked this job.”
He also acknowledged the element of chance. “The timing was very lucky – things don’t happen like this all the time,” he said. Larchmont Police Chief Steve Rubeo concurred. “What are the odds that the victim would be a gemologist – and would be in Manhattan - and would spot her ring?” he asked.
According to Detective Filsinger, who hopes to recover more of the items stolen in Weston, the investigation will continue.