The Upper East Side may not be known as a hotbed for mob heists, but the latest headline-grabbing caper is a mix of Reservoir Dogs and Grumpy Old Men.
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors reported that Michael Sellick, 67, Vincent Cerchio, 69, Frank DiPietro, 65, Vincent Spagnuolo, 65 and Samuel Sorce, 25, were arrested for allegedly snagging $2 million in jewelry from two shops (one on the UES, another in Chinatown). The New York Post was quick to suggest that the gents in question are associates of the famed Lucchese and Genovese crime families, both a part of the “Five Families” who have dominated the American Mafia since the 1890s.
The first incident is said to have occurred on the morning of January 3, when the crew slipped into construction uniforms and made a pit-stop at a swanky jewelry store on Madison Avenue and East 60th Street (the name hasn’t been released). Prosecutors claim DiPietro and Sellick were armed, with the former (known as “Frankie the Fish”) pointing his gun at an employee and demanding the goods. The haute heist resulted in quite a bounty, including a six-carat ring, a 17-carat pair of earrings and the pièce de résistance — a 73-carat necklace. Naturally, their blingy jaunt ended with a ride in a stolen getaway car.
On May 20, the dynamic duo were at it again — this time, downtown, where they reportedly targeted an Elizabeth Street store (also armed and clad in construction attire). The youngster of the group, Sorce, has been named by prosecutors as their getaway driver.
With a smattering of prior arrests and lengthy rap sheets, the men are charged with “conspiracy, robbery and brandishing a firearm in connection with a violent crime.” If convicted to the full extent, they face up to 20 years in jail.
Their lawyers have denied any wrongdoing, with Sellick’s counsel claiming the case is a “terrible case of mistaken identity.”