A Rochester man has admitted his involvement to a long-running theft ring that led to the death of an elderly man in Orleans County.
Rico Vendetti, 44, pleaded guilty on Friday to racketeering influenced corrupt organization conspiracy, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years to prison.
Vendetti was the head of an organized crime ring that employed a gang of thieves to target stores in Western New York. One of his gang members, Terry Stewart, has already admitted taking part in the ring, which beginning in 2004, saw him steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise, including breast pumps, whitening strips, cross stitch and needlepoint kits, electric toothbrushes, thumb drives, pet supplements, razors, and tool sets big box from big box stores such as Walmart, Sears, Home Depot, JoAnn Fabrics, Tops and Wegmans.
Stewart and others would then sell the items to Vendetti for around 25 cents on the dollar, who would sell them on eBay for half their retail value.
This theft ring ultimately led to the death of Homer Marciniak, a 78-year-old man from Medina.
In 2010, Vendetti learned of the value of Marciniak’s collection, around $30,000, and planned a home invasion robbery. Vendetti along with Albert Parsons, Donald Griffin and a third person entered the home, according to prosecutors, beat up Marciniak and left him tied up.
Marciniak was freed by authorities and released from the hospital after being treated for cuts and bruises, but was readmitted hours later, where he died of a heart attack.
Charges are pending against defendants Parsons, Griffin and Arlene Combs.
Stewart is awaiting sentencing for his participation in the theft ring, as is Brandon Meade, who was convicted in connection to this case of conspiring to transport and transfer stolen property with an aggregate value of $5000 in interstate commerce.
Vendetti will be sentenced in March, and in addition to 20 years in prison, could be fined $250,000.