Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on June 26, 2000 · Page 8
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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page 8

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Rochester, New York
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Monday, June 26, 2000
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Page 8
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8A DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE MONDAY, JUNE 26, 2000 VINYL SIDING FOI YOUR HOMI A look back at the unsolved case Sites around the robbery Rochester Institute of Technology 2i; "'I HENRIETTA h .1 & 13: V?miie Bailey Rd. MONROTV I county n Jefferson Rd. I Roctwur A timeline of the investigation June 26, 1990: Two Armored Motor Service of America guards on their way to the Federal Reserve in Buffalo stop at the Bi-Rite Market on East River Road in Henrietta to buy sandwiches and coffee, when they are hijacked and robbed of $10,833,839.53. ' -'tifc ' ' ' ' 'Jl MP"' n.,iiiii.Jimn'L i . "WHlnim yrH.T$'$z. , i '-3 j f- I ."- , r-H -f " 1 - ' ' 1 IX" ' " it June 27, 1990: Investigators find the stolen van believed used in the heist off Chili Avenue in Rochester, above. Inside are money trays and $13,000 in small bills. April 4, 1991: Investigators search the Parma home of Albert Ranieri, the truck's driver, and take a bicycle, memo book, speakers, AMSA shirts and jackets and insurance papers. They return four days later and take a rubber Halloween mask. May 6, 1992: The crime is featured on Unsolved Mysteries. Three composite sketches are released and more than a dozen calls are received nationally, but none of the leads results in an arrest. July 22, 1992: The truck's driver, Albert Ranieri, and his father, Albert B. Ranieri Jr., are detained after an informant provides information about the heist. They are released within hours when it is learned the informant was actually in jail when he claimed to have seen the stolen money. June 26, 1995: The five-year statute of limitations for the robbery passes, although other charges, including conspiracy to possess stolen cash, remain. SOURCE: StatFresearch Robbery FROiVl PAGE 1A the nature of the crime." Almost immediately after the robbery, the focus of the investigation turned to the armored truck's driver, Albert Ranieri of Parma Center Road, Parma, and his father, Albert B. Ranieri Jr., who lives at 316 John St., Henrietta, just around the corner from where the truck was unloaded. "Certainly when you have a robbery of this size, all employees or former employees come under close scrutiny," Flood said. The department has never publicly named the Ranieris as suspects, only that they were looking at "a core group of suspects." The younger Ranieri reportedly failed a lie-detector test, while the other guard passed, officials said. The Ranieris' lawyers have said their clients lived under extremely close watch for years by sheriff's investigators and the FBI. So close was the scrutiny following the robbery that a car of FBI agents ran into the back of the younger Ranieri's car when he slammed on the brakes. Ranieri was charged with reckless driving, but the charges were dismissed. His attorney has told him not to discuss his cases. The year after the heist, agents went to the younger Ranieri's home to execute a search warrant. They removed shirts and jackets from the truck company Armed Motor Services of America a bicycle and insurance papers. Agents returned four days later for a rubber Halloween mask The elder Ranieri, a mason and snowplow contractor, has never commented about the investigation or returned phone calls. War crimes suspect taken, whisked to Netherlands THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina British peacekeepers arrested a leading Serb war crimes s aspect yesterday and flew him to the Netherlands to stand trial on charges of massacring Muslim and Croat prisoners in the Bosnian war. Dusko Sikirica, 36, was indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague in July 1995 for crimes against humanity, war crimes and other offenses. He was flown during the afternoon to the Netherlands and transferred to the Schevenin-gen detention facility in The Hague. Statements by NATO and the British defense ministry confirmed the arrest was carried out by British soldiers at Sikirica's home in the Bosnian Serb town Prijedor. 1. AMSA headquarters: The truck leaves this location about 7 a.m. with a load of surplus money from area banks. 2. Bi-Rite Market: A short time later, the guards stop here. An armed man enters the truck and orders it be driven to Bailey Road. 3. Wooded area: At this spot, the guards are bound, gagged and blindfolded, and most of the money is transferred to another vehicle. 4. John Street: House where Albert B. Ranieri Jr., father of the driver of the armored truck, lives. TRACY HAYNES staff artist But he occasionally makes the news for other reasons: He once kicked a utility crew off his property at gunpoint. He was confronted by a group of citizens and clergy who opposed a gun shop his son hoped to open on Thurston Road. . He battled the town of Henrietta over alleged code violations and, most recently, over a billboard sign attached to a truck in his driveway ' that referred to town officials with a vulgarity. Two years after the robbery, the Ranieris were brought to the federal building during an apparent arrest, although no charges were ever filed against them. They were released later that day when it was learned an informant was in jail at the time he claimed to have seen the stolen money. "In 27 years of practicing law, that was the worst arrest, the most unconscionable thing I've ever seen," said the father's attorney, Anthony F. Leonardo. "They were handcuffed, taken into custody and going to be arraigned when they were let go. It was a miscarriage of justice," he said. The father also has had "bogus" traffic tickets dismissed, Leonardo said. The Ranieris were not the only suspects targeted by agents. "Certainly, to pull this crime off, it would have taken a minimum of three to five individuals," Flood said. "There was site preparation, there were three or four voices heard in the truck and nearly a ton of money was taken. In order to have successfully done that, it had to take a few people." Composite drawings of three possible suspects were released in 1992, when the crime was featured on TV's Unsolved Mysteries. The show is now in reruns four to six times a year on the Lifetime The Bosnian Serb interior ministry said armed men drove in four vehicles to Sikirica's home, broke down the door, shoved the suspect to the floor, bound and dragged him away. Sikirica's wife and two children were in the house at the time, but were not injured. The 1095 indictment said more than 3,000 Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats were held under Sikirica's command at a former ceramics factory at Keraterm, where detainees "were killed, sexually assaulted, tortured, beaten and otherwise subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment" In one incident, guards systematically machine-gunned inmates in one room in July 1092, the indictment said, j 1 sSlsM Chronicle of a crime The re-creation for the TV news segment Crime Stoppers says the Armored Motor Services of America truck was robbed this way: About 7 a.m., Truck 16, headed from Rochester to the Federal Reserve Bank in Buffalo, pulls into the Bi-Rite Market, 3289 East River Road, Henrietta, where AMSA employee Janet Brown goes inside. Nearby, a young man is reading a newspaper in a late- model silver Chevrolet Astro van. A man approaches the passenger side of the truck, which has a broken gunport that allows the man to aim a rifle at AMSA driver Albert Ranieri. A second gunman then uses a key to enter the truck through its door in the middle of the passenger side. He quickly puts a handgun to the back of Hanien s head and says, "I've got a gun and I've got nothing to lose. Keep both hands on the wheel and look forward." Using her key, Brown returns to the truck with food and is jumped from behind by the second gunman, who had been hiding behind a sliding door to the truck s rear vault. He puts his weight on her legs and his hands to the back of her neck, then looks to Ranieri and yells, "Drive when I say drive and turn when I say turn." Ranieri does, heading south on East River Road and east on Bailey Road until they reach an open area to their left. A wire blocking a path has been cut; low- hanging tree branches there have been freshly cut. The robbers load most of the truck's contents into a hand-painted gray van that had been stolen from Ontario County. The van, which police recovered the next day off Chili Avenue, was older than the one seen at Bi-Rite. Police said the guards apparently broke free around 7:35 a.m. and drove their emptied truck back to AMSA headquarters, where police were called at 7:39 a.m. cable network. Over the years on this case, we've gotten hundreds and hundreds of calls," said Linda Farrell, a spokeswoman for the show. . "I can't believe this is still unsolved. I mean, it was $11 millioa It's a lot of money, especially back in 1990, "said Farrell. Even though the money was not marked, getting rid of 2,100 pounds of currency is not as easy as it sounds. About $1 million of the stolen cash was in $100 bills. Close to million was in $20 bills. Banks are required to report large cash deposits. "They obviously had some sort of a plan what to do with the money, whether hiding it or laundering it, I don't know," Flood said. "I guess if you know the right people, it's doable." Flood admits the chances are slim of making an arrest a decade af ter the crime. "But it s possible, he said. A $750,000 reward for informa tion leading to the arrest and conviction of those who committed the robbery remains. The reward, from Lloyds of Lon don, which paid the insurance for the loss, would be paid only if mon ey also is recovered. (Tipsters may call Harold Smith at Cunningham Lindsey International Adjustors at 212-867-3092.) Shortly after the crime, several radio stations held "Hoagie Heist" promotions in the Bi-Rite parking lot. Owner Keith Frank said he still hears from customers who mention the robbery, but he'd rather forget about it. "Oh God, not again," he said when contacted by a reporter last week. "It's been beat to death. It's old news. Unless you catch somebody, who cares? It's a thing of the past." j Navy shells range on Vieques Island as protesters THE ASSOCIATED PRESS VIEQUES, Puerto Rico The thud of military shelling returned to Vieques Island yesterday as the U.S. Navy began training even as protesters vowed to invade the range to stop the largest exercise since a fatal accident prompted a yearlong occupation of the range. At about 2 p.m., ships began shooting inert shells at the range, Navy spokesman Lt. Jeff Gordon said. The exercises are scheduled to continue today and tomorrow although they could continue through Sunday if necessary, he said. Gordon said that notices were posted Saturday night and broadcast to mariners by the U.S. Coast Guard yesterday morning. The ad visories were seven pages long, and previous reports that the bombing was to begin today could have been due to a misinterpretation of the lengthy notice, he said. "The Navy did notify the public in Vieques in an appropriate manner today," Gordon said. Sandra Reyes, who lives in sight of the range, said her children came screaming into the house after the exercises started. "My house is shaking, the doors shake, things on the table shake, my ear drums hurt," Reyes said. "We all feel very frustrated, impotent, violated and harassed." She said three or four shells were hitting the range about every 15 min utes. South African party that devised apartheid fading LOS ANGELES TIMES JOHANNESBURG, South Africa The political party that created apartheid, imprisoned Nelson Mandela and later negotiated a peaceful transition to black-majority rule in South Africa has called it quits after 86 years, conceding it cannot go it alone in the racially mixed na tion. !" ;-' ' Leaders of the New National Par ty confirmed yesterday that they have agreed to a merger with the country's main opposition party, the Democratic Party, under the name Democratic Alliance. The New Nationalists will exist in name only un til 2004, when the current term of Parliament ends. The new coalition will be headed by Democratic Party leader Tony Leon, with New National Party leader Marthinu6 van Schalkwyk as deputy. The merger, agreed upon in principle on Saturday, follows weeks of intense negotiations during which Van Schalkwyk ultimate ly consented to what analysts described as a friendly takeover. "It offers the National Party a very gracetul demise, said House hunting? Catch our Best Buys Daily Grid weekdays. Democrat anH (Chronicle Clearly Rochester. - 1 - C gear up Yesterday, the Navy detained 38 people who had entered the range the night before after three ships from the USS George Washington battle group appeared on the horizon. Eight people remained in custody yesterday because they refused to identify themselves, Navy spokesman Robert Nelson said. Protesters said at least 41 people had entered the range, leaving the possibility that a few people were still in hiding on the grounds. Gordon said Navy helicopters checked the area before the exercises began. "The Navy doesn't respect us, and we have to put ourselves at the front line," said environmental activist Alberto de Jesus. De Jesus said he was considering entering the range by boat. The vice president of Puerto Rico's Independence Party, Fernando Martin, said he and other party leaders would enter the range in the next two days. Party president and prominent Vieques activist, Ruben Berrios, will not be joining the group because he will be in Washington on Wednesday attending a summit on Puerto Rico's status. Vieques activist Carlos Ventura said he would meet with religious, union and political leaders to arrange a peaceful demonstration on the island. The April 1999 killing of a civilian guard on the range united Puerto Ricans to demand the Navy end its six decade-long bombing of Vieques. Lawrence Schlemmer, director of Markdata, a Johannesburg-based polling and research company. The merger would bring to a formal close one of the most racist chapters in 20th century African history.The Nationalists, under former clergyman and newspaper editor Daniel F. Malan, came to power in 1948 after reinstituting a "purified',' version of the party, which had strayed from its strict Afrikaner roots by cooperating with the English-based South African Party before World War II. Malan's party held firmly on to power for 46 years, imposing measures favoring Afrikaners and other whites that would ultimately turn South Africa into an international pariah state. In the belief that races should be kept apart, the government moved millions of black South Africans from white areas to nominally independent black homelands. 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