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Food Pantry Theft Case Moving Toward a Trial

Adam Straface, the final suspect in a series of alleged thefts from the Harrison Food Pantry did not agree to a plea offer Tuesday.

After considering a plea offer already accepted by five other former town employees charged with stealing from the Harrison Food Pantry, Adam Straface appears ready to take his case to trial.

In a brief appearance in Harrison Court Tuesday Straface's attorney Russell Smith told Judge Ronald Bianchi that they have not agreed to a plea deal with the district attorney's office and are prepared to go to trial to fight a single charge of petit larceny. A trial date has been set for August 9.

Straface is the only remaining defendant in an alleged series of thefts from the food pantry over a two month span from Dec. 2010 to January of this year. William D'Imperio, Florence D'Imperio, Jack Arcara, Joseph Arcara and Sherryl Toplyn have all pleaded guilty to a single count of petit larceny and agreed to pay a $1,000 fine and a $205 surcharge. 

Smith said in court that his client is moving for a jury trial when the case is heard in August. Judge Bianchi gave Smith two weeks to submit any pre-trial motions before the case is again heard in open court.

Straface and Smith did not comment while leaving Harrison court Tuesday.

All six of the former employees were  after Harrison Police conducted a two-month investigation. A police surveillance video  allegedly shows at least some of the defendants stealing from the pantry.

According to his original arrest report, Straface admitted to police that he and Joseph Arcara stole multiple food and clothing items from the food pantry on Dec. 20, 2010.

Straface gave police a gray long-sleeved Andy Warhol shirt and a pair of Ralph Lauren cargo shorts, according to his arrest report. Other defendants were charged with taking either food items or shoes from the pantry on separate dates.

Originally, Straface faced the least serious charges of the six defendants. Joseph Arcara and Florence D’Imperio had faced . In addition, Florence D’Imperio had faced eight counts of petit larceny and Joseph Arcara faced six counts. Jack Arcara faced five counts of petit larceny, while William D'Imperio faced two. 

All six of the accused had been working for the town to some extent at the time of their arrests. Florence D’Imperio had worked part-time as Harrison Meals on Wheels treasurer but resigned in February. Toplyn had worked as a part-time clerical worker and also resigned soon after her arrest. William D’Imperio was a supervisor in the Harrison Parks Department, but  from town employment on March 17. The , who were laborers in the parks department, on March 3.

The  delivers food to about 80 low-income Harrison families and accepts cash donations from local organizations on an on-going basis. 

The Truth Hurts June 28, 2011 at 05:01 PM
Ross, From what I've heard he (the defendant) is fighting this because there are men still working at the DPW who have been convicted of more serious crimes than this one. Thus raising the question why was he(the defendant) fired.
Greg Tart June 28, 2011 at 06:20 PM
Hmm, and Nita Lowey, is crying about how cuts in the agriculture department will impact food pantries in Westchester
Ross Revira June 28, 2011 at 06:22 PM
The fact of his firing is related to his arrest but it has no bearing on his court case. If he was fired improperly that is for his union to handle. One is a criminal case and the other is civil. I would imagine if he is proven not guilty that would bolster his attempt at reinstatement. Did he not admit stealing clothing articles? What about the surveillance video? I would also hope that the other defendants as part of their plea agreements are required to testify as witnesses for the prosecution in the event of a trial. I hope his lawyer is giving him good advise because it only continues the embarrassment for the town.
Harrison @ Halstead June 28, 2011 at 11:25 PM
I hope your right Ross. I'm just glad Flo was finally caught. 90 years old and stealing from the poor. Shame. shame, shame. What amazes me is that the investigation didn't involve the rest of her family who shared the same house and basement. I know how close they all are and there is no way you can't tell me they all weren't complicit with what the mother was doing. I honestly feel sorry for her son. Can you imagine having that as your roll model? Shame, shame, shame! She is well known for passing judgement on other people. I hope she continues to get doses of her own medicine!

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