Anonymous tip based on media report leads police to suspect in Aldi’s theft

Anonymous tip based on media report leads police to suspect in Aldi’s theft

The Westerly Sun

WESTERLY — A Pawcatuck man is facing charges after police said an anonymous tip helped identify him after he stole a day planner containing cash, credit cards and a license from a local woman as the two were shopping at Aldi’s earlier this month.

Samuel R. Cozzolino, of 45 Sisk Drive, Apt. 11-5 in the Edythe K. Richmond housing complex, was charged Wednesday with larceny under $1,500. He was released on a promise to appear for arraignment in Fourth Division District Court later this month.

Officers arrested Cozzolino at his home on Wednesday after receiving information including his name and address through the department’s anonymous tip line. The caller had seen Cozzolino’s photo in The Westerly Sun and left a message with the police identifying him. The image, published in the Tuesday issue, had been taken from a store surveillance video.

Lacey said officers acted on the tip and went to Cozzolino’s home. He answered the door, Lacey said, and was immediately cooperative with officers, telling them he had spent $80 that was in the stolen day planner, and had dropped the planner with all its remaining items into a mailbox down the street. The department is continuing to work with the U.S. Postal Service in an effort to find the remaining items.

“Mr. Cozzolino was apologetic to officers and indicated he had also seen his picture in the paper and was feeling remorseful. He said he was considering calling police himself, but had not yet done so when officers showed up at his home,” Lacey said.

The charge stems from an investigation into a May 4 theft at the Aldi Supermarket in Franklin Shopping Plaza. Police said a 59-year-old Westerly woman was shopping and, after bagging her groceries in the store’s front counter area, forgot her day planner containing $80 in cash, credit cards and ID.

The woman rushed into the store as Cozzolino was preparing to leave and police said video surveillance showed that Cozzolino grabbed the day planner and stuck it into the front portion of his carriage. He then walked out of the store in front of the woman, who was asking the store staff for assistance.

Police were notified of the theft on May 7 after a store manager reviewed the surveillance video and saw the theft in progress. The store provided the video to both the woman and police, according to reports.


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