Jewelry thief caught red-fingered

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Friday, December 1, 2006

PORTLAND, Maine--A suspected jewelry thief was arrested on Oct. 14, less than a month after stealing a $12,000 diamond ring from an antiques store here, thanks to a security system recently upgraded by local alarm dealer TL Communications.
On Sept. 2, Robert Petrino, Sr., of South Boston, walked into Stone Home Antiques and minutes later walked out with the custom-designed ring. The suspect was identified by Police Chief James Carney of Marblehead, Mass., after recognizing the subject from an image taken from the store's surveillance system and sent to police departments New England-wide.
Stone Home owner Paul Duschene, who was not present at the time of the robbery, said the thief worked very quickly. "On the film, you can see him take the ring without the employee ever knowing," said Duschene. Employees noticed the ring missing at the end of the day, then went back to the surveillance tape and called Duschene, who immediately called police. "We were able to get some good face shots--especially from outdoors looking in," said Duschene.
As police confronted Petrino at his apartment, his girlfriend walked in wearing the ring. Duschene said he was thankful that his alarm dealer, Tim Leccese, of TL Communications, had recommended an upgrade eight months prior to the robbery. Leccese said at the time he upgraded Stone Home's security system, "we added cameras all around the store. Now the system combines a Digimerge DVR and Toshiba cameras with Fuji verifocal lenses."
Duschene and his staff were able to go through and view the surveillance images, "and then Tim came up to our store--he was very helpful and was able to crop only what the police department needed." Leccese, who has run TLCommunications for 20 years, said, "Paul called me on a Saturday night because he wanted to review the video, so my son and I went up to help him. We had the [suspect] on multiple cameras, which we backed up onto CD, and [Duschene] turned that over to the police."
Lt. Vern Malloch of the Portland Police Department said, "there's a lot more video surveillance than there ever used to be. Electronically, there's a lot more ability to share stuff. With bank robberies, police can send the photos from a laptop or PC. It's faster than the old way of copying a VHS tape and running thermal prints."
TLCommunications is based in Wells, Maine, and services upwards of 900 accounts. "It's really a family-run operation," said Leccese, whose son Tim, Jr., and daughter Christine also work with him. "My friends say to me, the hours you put in, nobody works like this," said Leccesse. "I tell them 'It's only work if you don't enjoy it.' I enjoy what I do--I enjoy helping guys like Paul."