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Food Pantry Theft Suspects Charged With Petit Larceny

Police say six town employees stole clothing, belts, shoes and both perishable and non-perishable food items throughout a two month investigation.

Six Harrison town employees face misdemeanor petit larceny charges after police say they were caught taking clothes and food from the Harrison Food Pantry throughout a two-month investigation. 

Harrison Public Works employees Joseph Arcara, 54, his cousin Jack Arcara, 48, and Adam Straface, 26, turned themselves in to police on Feb. 15, along with Florence D’Imperio, 91, her son William D’Imperio, 51, and Sherry Toplyn, 58.

All six work full or part-time for the town of Harrison. 

The investigation into the food pantry began two months ago, Harrison Police confirmed Tuesday. Arrest records obtained by Patch confirm that police have video evidence of at least some of the thefts taking place.

Florence D’Imperio faces eight counts of petit larceny, Joseph Arcara faces six counts, Toplyn and Jack Arcara face five counts, William D’Imperio faces two counts and Straface faces a single count.

Offense dates varied for each employee with the exception of Joseph Arcara and Straface who were both listed as committing thefts on Dec. 20, 2010. During an interview with police Straface admitted that he and Joseph Arcara stole multiple food and clothing items from the food pantry on that date, according to his arrest report.

Straface gave police a gray long-sleeved Andy Warhol shirt and a pair of Ralph Lauren cargo shorts, according to his arrest report.

While interviewing Toplyn police seized a handbag that they say she used to conceal a pair of women's shoes she took from the pantry. 

The other thefts took place between Dec. 29, 2010 and Jan. 26, 2011, all on separate dates, according to the arrest reports.

The investigation is continuing and more charges are possible in the near future, according to a statement released Tuesday by the Harrison Police Department.

Florence D’Imperio served as Harrison Meals on Wheels Treasurer and was the Harrison Citizen of the Year in 2001. William D’Imperio is a supervisor in the Harrison Parks Department and worked with Joe and Jack Arcara as well as Straface. Toplyn had organized and operated a new  program at the  for the last six months. 

A source told Patch last week that the stolen food was being re-sold for profit, but that information has not been confirmed. 

The town suspended all of the employees without pay last week. Florence D'Imperio and Toplyn have resigned from their positions, said a source with knowledge of the situation.

"It's upsetting to all of us," Harrison Mayor/Supervisor Joan Walsh said Tuesday, adding that the department of public works and food pantry will continue to operate without interruption. The Job S.E.A.R.C.H program formerly run by Toplyn will also continue under new leadership.

It is not clear how much was stolen or for how long the alleged thefts were taking place before the investigation began. The Food Bank of Westchester said they become aware of the situation before the arrests when Nina Marraccini, Harrison's director of community services, informed them that there may be a problem.

The county food bank provides some food to the Harrison pantry, but since they only deliver to Harrison once a month they suspect that the missing goods were donated locally, according to Christina Rohatynskyj, the county food bank's executive director.

"I don't think it's a whole lot," she said, noting that food brought in from outside of town is sent to needy families only a few days after the Harrison Food Pantry receives them.

The county food bank is conducting its own investigation into the matter, but Rohatynskyj said she doesn't suspect the incident will affect Harrison's standing with the Food Bank of Westchester, adding that the Harrison Food Pantry has had no problems in the past.

"We are going to have to meet with them to talk about security and inventory control and things like that, then we will make the determination," Rohatynskyj said.

Petit larceny is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, according to state law. The charge typically means that less than $1,000 was stolen.

All six employees are due to appear in town court March 1.

The town does not intend to take steps to terminate the employees until they have gone to court, Walsh said. But the mayor did on the part of the Harrison Town Board if the employees are found guilty.

The  delivers food to about 80 low-income Harrison families and accepts cash donations from local organizations on an on-going basis. Last year the pantry accepted thousands of dollars from groups including the  and the .

Nurse Ratched February 27, 2011 at 06:04 AM
I agree with you Charlene. Harrison has been a free for all for years.....Especially the last four!!! If Chief HALL was still in charge and these people were arrested, it would have looked like a witch hunt, instead of a normal police investigation. Ralph Tancredi has been a free for all....IN THE MAYORS OFFICE!!! Its not the Mayors fault. She did not steal from the food pantry. Maybe the Food Pantry 6 looked at the Mayors unethical use of a golf cart and said..."HEY, IF SHE CAN USE TOWN PROPERTY FOR HER OWN PERSONAL USE, WHO THE HECK IS GONNA MISS A SIDE OF BEEF OR A PORK LOIN!!"
Nurse Ratched February 27, 2011 at 06:58 AM
Dont forget to take the Bankrupt MURPHY with you. By the way....My next foil will be to see the amount of money our board wasted on hiring Vince Toomey (unsure of spelling), labor attorney contracted out to handle labor related issues for the town. Cant wait for the next meeting!!!!!!!Where are THOSE foils Ms Held and Ms. Pritchard?????? Oh, I forgot....... Lets look into the PD K9's and the Motorcycle Unit instead. I bet TOOMEY is well over a half a million dollars!!!Im not insulting Mr. Toomey because i hear he is an excellent attorney. But the Town of Harrison has more than capable attorneys.(KRAUT and ALLEGRETTI).....Just look at their record!!! ELEVEN.....yes ELEVEN wins and NO losses......Even though Spring is finally around the corner, November cant come soon enough for me
Nurse Ratched February 27, 2011 at 07:30 AM
And another thing.........It has been over a week since the story broke. All our Mayor could say to this point is to lets wait and see what happens with the police investigation and court case. And also she states that there is alot of MISINFORMATION out there. Two years ago, with the FB4, she couldnt keep her mouth shut. Mass emails by our MAYOR, posts and updates by our MAYOR on the Town website, bi-weekly FB4 updates by our MAYOR at town board meetings. She wanted those guys FIRED within 24 hours. Now, because FLO is her friend , it turns into a personnel matter that cant be talked about in public? PALEEEEEEESE!!!! Vetere even suggested to "Feed them to the wolves.". If you dont believe me, check back to the begining of the town board meeting(feb 09) when he was speaking under his breath with the mic on. Does anyone else see this but me? If that is the case.....im moving to another planet.
MurphysLaw February 27, 2011 at 07:31 AM
Why do you keep saying bankrupt murphy? Who are you speaking of? Toomey is the attorney that handled all of the 13 not 11 lawsuits against the town and he was worth every penny in my opinion. He savedcus millions some other attorney might have said oh settle on this one or that one. He was a pit bull. He got so many of them tossed before even going to trial. And every person that was a defendant in those cases against the town and the police department. Those defendants had to endure a lot of stress that goes along with being sued. Who cares about the police k9 unit and motorcycle unit what does that have to do with steak stealers and Joan getting voted out in November? You are so confusinqg with some of your blogs I don't know what your saying. You ave too many one liners you have to go into detail a bit more. Did you watch the clip I posted above?
Nurse Ratched February 27, 2011 at 07:59 AM
I believe that the attorney Kraut handled the lawsuits brought about by Tancredi. Please correct me if you know different. As I said, I heard that Toomey is an excellent attorney, and to spend money on him may have been unceccesary due to the highly qualified attorneys our town allready has. Because of that, it was a waste of over a half a million dollars. And for the record, I do care about the K9 and motorcycle unit. That was a big factor in me moving to this town several years ago. The k9 is an incredible asset any police department. From assisting and locating drugs, sniffing out a burglar, finding lost children or elderly and community policing. Just read the recent patch article about the k9 expo with our towns children. As for the motorcycles, besides being a revenue producer and keeping crazy drivers in check, they also perform key functions dealing with traffic conditions through our congested streets during large funerals for residents, assisting other agencies whe mourning the loss of a fellow officer and public relations as well. Not to mention, those guys look HOT in those uniforms!!!! As this relates to our current MAYOR? Her cronies stand up at meetings and misinform the public about their cost to the taxpayers compared to the invaluable service they perform. As for the bankrupt reference? You can figure that one out for yourself. But most importantly....please donate to our food pantry. God bless you all
Gandhi February 27, 2011 at 08:56 AM
I watched the clip now I think an update from chanel 2 is in order after the verdict ...... Thats funny about Pat ... I used to here storys he was caught a few times sleeping in the elevator when he was supposed to be running the thing during work hours .... (I thought that was a cushy job) ... that was before he landed this one......But we are getting way off track here .... It is time folks to make Harrison Great to live in again and we will allot of good souls here. And PS: forgive my style of writing I just couldnt get it out fast enough ...... you guys are great...
MurphysLaw February 27, 2011 at 09:18 AM
Oh I thought you were speaking badly of the k9 and mc units. They are definitely needed. It deters a lot of crime by having the k9 unit. The mc unit is an excellent part of our PD. Our PD is second to none led my a cops cop Anthony Maraccini. He is a wonderful man. I have called him with questions and he spends time with you on the phone and will assist you from start to finish with a police matter. We couldn't have gotten a better chief. I don't care what people say about him I've dealt with a great chief on several occasions you go to another town and try and speak with the chief of police and you will get laughed at by the cop answering the phone. God bless our town workers we may have some bad apples that start in the mayors office, but what town doesn't. Steak stealers fate is coming fast. Hit them with the book. I'm sick to my stomach. Yes donate to the pantry.
MurphysLaw February 27, 2011 at 09:29 AM
I think were talking of the wrong attorney I'm speaking of the attorney who handled the lawsuits against the town. I may be wrong. I'll find out more info tomorrow
MurphysLaw February 27, 2011 at 09:38 AM
I'm speaking of attorney Charles horn who handled the frivolous lawsuits wrong guy
Scott Martin February 27, 2011 at 11:54 AM
It is great that so many people are concerned about what is going on in our town that they take the time to leave thoughtful comments. However, I simply do not understand why so many of you are hiding behind silly made up names. Why not tell us who you are? I think it would make the discussion seem much more serious.
Patricia DelSoldato February 27, 2011 at 02:29 PM
I agree, but I know how peeps are they don't want to get involved, hahahahaha
Patricia DelSoldato February 27, 2011 at 02:47 PM
Oh I heard it Nurse Ratched, I watch all the goings on at the meetings, I just don't understand why there is so much disrespect and no one else says a word, like don't speak to me like that, just because you're the mayor that doesn't give you the right to speak to me that way...And there should be an age limit to serve....
The TRUTH February 27, 2011 at 03:06 PM
Murphy’s Law and Nurse Ratched it is comments like yours who continue the degradation of Harrison’s image. The only thing you do is rehash old news with your spin attached. Is Joan Walsh a good and qualified Mayor? She was elected twice by the voters. That’s all the approval she needs. Does she do and say stupid things? Yes she does all the time. Former Chief Hall is a great guy. Would he be a better mayor? The voters did not believe so. Consider the fact that all the elected offices in Harrison were won by Republicans that year, does that say something? The citizens are left with the leaders we have is because of people like Murphy’s Law, Nurse Ratched, etc. and the political gadflies old and not so old who speak at every town board meeting. Don’t these people have a life? Any bright and hard working person looking to help our community would never subject themselves or their families to the incessant harangues by the likes of the before mentioned people. No matter what decision our leaders make the boo birds have to put a negative or pejorative taint on it. This is the way of political life in the whole country but in Harrison it is magnified by its unique demographic. If all the critics who blame the other side for all the towns ills would look at their side it would be as if they were looking in the mirror and that is The TRUTH.
The TRUTH February 27, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Scott Martin and Patricia DelSoldato I commend you for putting your name on your comments. Unfortunately I cannot because it would not be fair to subject my family to the possible retaliation from people I might criticize. If I can’t use my name I try to stay out of the gutter unlike some anonymous bloggers.
Donna February 27, 2011 at 04:12 PM
What does it matter what name you use as your screen name? You can be "John Smith". Does that make your comments more credible? Thoughtful and intelligent comments don't need to have a "real name."
Nurse Ratched February 27, 2011 at 05:40 PM
Degredtion? I pay for my groceries!!!
Patricia DelSoldato February 27, 2011 at 07:14 PM
The Truth, this is what I mean, if you want to say something then say it, if you fear retaliation from anyone that's a shame, the truth prevails all the time. I used my own name because I'm a truthful person who believe in the right thing and the best thing to do and say. I haven't offended anyone (I don't think) with my comments. It's just not right what's going on all around us and we the people have to fix it. Not just for us but for our children. All this is seen by so many people not just us in Harrison, but everyone all over. It's seeing the back biting and the disrespect we are showing each and every person we mention. Remember Bad begets Bad, it's like a magnet it attracks the bad elements to come into our town because their is so much negativity here. We have to turn it around, for the betterment of our Beloved Town and Village of Harrison, NY.
oldtimer February 27, 2011 at 08:09 PM
In harrison nepotism is the rule not the exception. Its more who you know than what you know. Having a son or daughter follow in your footsteps is great as long as they are the most qualified. That is not the case in Harrison. this is where the trouble starts. If you are lucky enough to be related or really good friends with someone who already works for the town you are in! Now for the jealousy. You would have never known anyone was stealing or cheating or lied unless someone who is not a friend of the family got jealous and made sure ther was trouble. Someone was not given their share of the loot. Otherwise if these people were caught stealing friends and family would have kept it from the police. I don't condone any of this unfortunatly its the truth like it or not. Its been going on for as long as I can remember. If you want proof just look at the people who hold or have held key positions in town I'll bet more of them are related than are not.
Gandhi February 27, 2011 at 08:23 PM
So let’s just say I have a wealth of information based on more experiences like this. As a matter of fact some are involved here in this little sting and when the time is right and the correct questions are asked like these presented here can I prove ,that if some one can steal is this a reflection of there character? What else are they capable of? Manipulating facts and distorting the truth because they can, Oh yes I am afraid so. And basically damage anything you are trying to build now that’s scary. Would people who hold certain positions of power use them for evil to impact someone’s life and there own personal vendetta? Sure they would if they knew they could get away with it. And that goes for good and bad they can and do use there powers for what ever they want here. Would some of these same people use there power here to down play this disgrace and change the way they handle things because of who these people are? Sure they would. We have all seen the double standards here so tell me why anyone would want to subject themselves to a backlash just yet.
Gandhi February 27, 2011 at 08:28 PM
This is so ironic that this has come up and I thought it would …. Why some would remain anonymous here? Because I choose to use a screen name this make me less credible? No Would I be less truthful for using a screen name? No I made that mistake once in this town by my God given right to truthfully defend my self and family and what happened next was this … those same powers that sit in positions went out of there way to make my life a living hell and I struggled for a while after that… now was it worth opening my mouth? …Back then I would have said no but today oh yes it is. Now I did nothing to deserve what happened and I could not prove this was happening but it was and not a coincidence or a figment of my imagination … retaliation can come any number of ways and very hard to know who is who here… and who can be trusted or who will not break the law to prove they can do what ever they want to keep you in line. Today I am a few days wiser and smarter but still just an ordinary citizen peaceful and quiet and try to respect others and mind my own business.
Donna February 27, 2011 at 08:51 PM
One of the reasons why some things go on and on are because people fear retaliation...that's not only in Harrison though...that's in business in general. There will always be thieves in every walk of life...Harrison is no different from any other town or corporation for that matter. I'm sure that one or two of those six now want to open the flood gates and take others down with them. However, they have to prove it.
Nurse Ratched February 27, 2011 at 09:41 PM
Mr Gandhi, you said a mouthfull. Couldnt have said it better if i tried myself. Someone should look into the Senior Taxi Voucher program which some of the "PANTRY 6" were in charge of. From what I understand, if you paid the former meals on wheels director 5$ you recieve a 10$ voucher for taxi transportation. I would like to see the book keeping on that one. Maybe an investigative reporter should do a little digging. If money was exchanged in that program it should all be documented and available by a FOIL request. This needs to be looked into. Does anyone know about that program and how it works? Please let us know.
Gandhi February 27, 2011 at 10:29 PM
Oh and one more thing I walk among all of you and I am far from perfect I am flawed and try to be as honest as I can but aware of reality. I am far from perfect and have faults I am just an ordinary man trying to get by day to day and raise my family the best I can and try to teach them right from wrong and be good people. Am I hiding anything behind a screen name.... I am sure there are many things anyone can claim. Listen folks this is all that matters to me ... I asked my kid one day am I a good father? ... his reply yes ... I said how do you know ? His reply because you always tell the truth and do what you say your going to do and try and do the right thing. I have nothing to prove or hide from this blog I call it like I see it. This will be very interesting to see what happens here when you break the law in the Town Village of Harrison and your either on the inside or out a sacrificial lamb and thrown to the wolves or protected and insulated by the powers that be.
The TRUTH February 27, 2011 at 11:57 PM
Maryanne are you that hot chick who just came back to the family estate in Harrison?
Lanning Taliaferro (Editor) February 28, 2011 at 12:14 AM
Harrison is the only municipality in Westchester that runs a food pantry, according to Patch research. http://patch.com/A-fw61 Why did it start?
MurphysLaw February 28, 2011 at 12:37 AM
Hiding behind a screen name?? How is that an issue? I know everyone of these steak stealers. I don't need to show my name in order to speak freely. I have family and children in this town. I don't need people to know who I am. That's not the issue here. I didn't steal from the poor. Scott Martin I never heard of you I've lived here for an eternity. So don't worry about what I do. Worry about people stealing from our 80+ families who rely on that food. They can't afford to go to A&P or Food City and spend hundreds of dollars a week to feed their families. I know some of them personally and they are appauled and ashamed that this happened. They can't speak with their names because they are embarrassed that they depend on the food pantry. So I speak the truth it doesn't matter what name I'm under. It's not your business. I walk among you I get coffee next to you. I may be in the same aisle as you in Trottas or one of our shopping centers. I am watching now to make sure this town gets on track and it starts this November. We need Joan out she destroyed our real estate values. With her media bashing of our town employees with health care benefits. Then her friend Flo gets busted maybe she knew it was happening. Now it's no comment. Now it's no media coverage. So look around people see our town going down the tubes. I don't want to hear it. I've lived hear long enough to express MY OPINION. YOU DON'T HAVE TO AGREE, BUT IM ENTITLED TO MY OPINION.
MurphysLaw February 28, 2011 at 12:50 AM
Panning I just read the article every town has a food pantry it's just called other names. Not sure what your talking about? Larchmont/Mamaroneck/white plains/port Chester all have food programs for people in need.
Dr. Vinny Boombatza February 28, 2011 at 01:13 AM
Maybe some news may be "Old" but where is the spin? 1. Facebook 4 broke no laws, but did allegedly break the Code of Conduct. They all paid a price for their actions. No "spin" there. 2. The Mayor issues a statement about this issue in the Harrison Report, Quote: Until it is resolved in the courts, fair-minded people will understand that the Town Board cannot and will not make any comments, nor take any further action until that time. I would ask that our residents also await the court decision. There is a stunning amount of misinformation circulating, and it grows with every retelling. There is also a great deal of pain for those of us who have worked with the people involved, and for their families. This is the same woman who made comment after comment, wrote column after column about the Facebook4 prior to any hearing. What about their families and co-workers. Remember, these people didn't break the law.... Dumb? yes. Criminals? No. Any "spin" here? 3. What about the lies she told the public regarding the cart? PLEASE, read the Code of Ethics. She clearly broke it with her actions. Where is the "spin" here? 4. What about taking tips for all the marriages? Clearly a violation of the Code of Ethics. Where is the "spin" here? The Mayor is a 78 year old who doesn't care about our ENTIRE community. Its time for a change. Its time for someone with LEADERSHIP skills. Its time for someone who cares more about Harrison than vengence, politics and her click.
Gandhi February 28, 2011 at 01:21 AM
Well said Murphy .. And the fact that Harrison is the ONLY food pantry run by its own municipality in Westchester out of hundreds. We should have been the Rule and model instead of the center of this heartless act. Only a pair of shoes and some shorts and shirts and not much more under a $1,000 dollars my foot... That is all we know of ....Think about it if they only found out about this 2 months ago how long was this going on for and what else is going on?... because if you can do this you can do just abut anything. If you steal anything and you do not get caught ARE YOU STILL A THEIF ?????????? We live here this town and it is an embarrassment to all residents
Lanning Taliaferro (Editor) February 28, 2011 at 03:45 PM
Thanks, Murphy and Gandhi for checking out our story on the region's food pantries, most of which are run by non-profits. That's what made me curious -- how did the Harrison town government get into the business of operating a food pantry?

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