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State trooper accused of swiping Rolex watch, other valuables from evidence storage room

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Screenshot of WPTZ-TV YouTube video

A Vermont state trooper who makes $95,000 a year has been placed on paid leave while investigators determine whether he was responsible for some valuables which had been discovered missing from a temporary evidence storage room last month.

According to a news release from the Vermont State Police, Trooper Giancarlo DiGenova, 44, was placed on "paid relief-from-duty status" back on December 19. A month earlier, on November 22, a suspect had been arrested by the VSP narcotics unit and some of the suspect's valuables had been seized. Those valuables — which included a gold Rolex watch, stud earrings, Apple AirPods, keys, and a wallet — had been placed in a temporary storage facility at the Williston Barracks, just east of Burlington. Those items later turned up missing.

DiGenova, who has been with the VSP since 2009, was assigned to the Williston Barracks, as well as the barracks in Middlesex and Bradford. He was also a member of the Narcotics Investigation Unit.

As of this writing, DiGenova has not been charged with any crime. However, a search warrant and other Chittenden County superior criminal court documents obtained by freelance journalist Mike Donoghue and reported in the VT Digger indicate that DiGenova has been the subject of an intense investigation.

DiGenova's colleague, Ben Katz, reported that DiGenova had recently shown him a watch matching the description of the missing watch. DiGenova allegedly told Katz he had bought the watch online and that it was a remarkably well-made fake Rolex worth about $700 or $800.

A search of DiGenova's police vehicle unearthed a business card for a jeweler in Burlington. When questioned, the jeweler supposedly identified DiGenova as the uniformed man who had come into the store to request an appraisal on a watch seized in an investigation. The jeweler informed the man that the watch was worth approximately $14,000 but would be worth more if he had the watch's original box and documentation, which the man said he did not have.

DiGenova told police that he had recently purchased a watch from a cousin who lives about four hours away. DiGenova claimed that he had been looking for a watch to give his son either as a Christmas gift or as a birthday gift. He added that when he discovered that the watch he had purchased from his cousin was fake, he returned it. He had no receipt for the purchase and had no messages with his cousin to corroborate his story, though the cousin did confirm the watch story to police.

DiGenova's attorney, David Sleigh, called the watch purchase an "innocent coincidence."

"Suspicion of Giancarlo is based entirely upon innocent coincidence, he had a watch and VSP lost a watch," Sleigh said in an email. "Numerous others had access to the property storage area which, unlike the evidence locker, has never been subject to stringent security measures."

While "numerous others" likely did have access to the evidence room, the affidavit suggested that DiGenova had accessed the evidence room "multiple times" after the valuables had been placed there but before they had been discovered missing. A pair of "possible diamond earrings" were also found at DiGenova's home, the New York Post reported.

The affidavit indicates that DiGenova, who in 2019 was awarded for outstanding collaborative investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont, is suspected of grand larceny, sale of stolen property, and possession of stolen property, as well as professional misconduct, such as neglect of duty and giving false information to police.

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