Five men with alleged ties to the mob were arrested Tuesday for stealing $2 million worth of jewelry at gunpoint in New York City, federal prosecutors announced.
Frank DiPietro, Vincent Cerchio, Vincent Spagnuolo, Michael Sellick, and Samuel Sorce are associates of the Lucchese and Genovese crime families, the NYPD said.
The five men were charged for two robberies at gunpoint in broad daylight, one in January in Midtown and the second in lower Manhattan in May.
They are charged with conspiracy, robbery, and brandishing a firearm in connection with a violent crime. The conspiracy and robbery charges carry 20-year prison sentences, while the firearm charge carries a seven-year sentence.
During the January 3 robbery, four of the men stole three diamond pieces, including a 73-carat necklace, a six-carat ring, and a 17-carat pair of earrings at a Madison Avenue jewelry store, prosecutors said.
Two of the men, DiPietro, 65, and Sellick, 67, were disguised in orange and yellow construction clothes, according to prosecutors.
They entered Bayco Jewels on Madison Avenue near East 61st Street through a connected deli entrance just as workers placed jewelry in the display window case, prosecutors said.
Bayco Jewels is located in a penthouse and caters to customers like Beyoncé and Rihanna. Customers must pass a credit check before getting an appointment at the high-end shop.
DiPietro, also known as “Frankie the Fish,” allegedly pointed his gun at a worker and said, “Give it to me,” while Sellick, also known as “Skip,” allegedly told the worker to “turn around and get in the closet.”
The men used a stolen getaway car to leave the scene, prosecutors said.
DiPietro and Sellick allegedly disguised themselves in construction outfits again on May 20 and held up an Elizabeth Street jewelry store downtown.
Sellick pointed a gun at workers and told them to get on the ground, and DiPietro collected jewelry pieces, prosecutors said.
Sorce, 25, allegedly drove the car as they fled the scene, and he was also dressed in construction clothes.
The men then allegedly switched to a different car driven by Spagnuolo, 65.
In both robberies, the accused switched out the license plates of the getaway cars beforehand, according to the complaint.
Four of the five men have many prior arrests for high-level crimes.
DiPietro has been arrested a dozen times, including for racketeering and murder in 1998, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig.
The chief detective also said Sellick had been arrested more than two dozen times, mostly for bank robberies that go back to the 1970s. Spagnuolo has been arrested six times, including for a fatal shooting in Manhattan back in 1986, and Cerchio, 69, has been arrested multiple times for conspiracy.
“These five defendants allegedly carried out brazen and dangerous daylight robberies of jewelry stores in Manhattan, stealing about $2 million in jewelry at gunpoint,” Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams said.
The men’s lawyers have spoken out against the case.
“Law enforcement was desperate to solve these cases so they are rounding up the usual suspects,” DiPietri’s lawyer Mathew Mari told the New York Post.
“This will be a trial that ends with the government having egg on their face!” the attorney said.
Sellick’s lawyer claimed his client was busy painting bridges and “couldn’t have been on Madison Avenue pulling off a jewelry heist,” calling the situation “a terrible case of mistaken identity.”