Five Mob Associates Nabbed For Stealing $2M In Gems From Two Manhattan Shops

Five members of an alleged robbery crew linked by law enforcement to two of the Five Families were arrested Tuesday morning in connection with the heisting of $2 million in gems from two Manhattan jewelry stores.

Alleged Luchese associate and another crew member
DiPietro, pointing gun, and Sellick burst into Bayco Jewels on January 3 (without an appointment).

The two complaints (which make no mention of Cosa Nostra) charge Frank (Frankie the Fish) DiPietro, 65, of Red Bank, New Jersey; Vincent Cerchio, 69, of Howard Beach, New York; Vincent Spagnuolo, 65, of Monmouth Beach, New Jersey; Michael Sellick, 67, of Franklin Square, New York, and Samuel Sorce, 25, of Florham Park, New Jersey.

The heists took place at a midtown store on January 3, 2023, and at a downtown store on May 20, 2023.

The five are charged with conspiracy, robbery, and brandishing a firearm in connection with a violent crime. Each faces up to 27 years in prison.

NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said the five defendants were associates of the Lucchese and Genovese crime families, according to the New York Post, which also noted that, according to Essig, DiPietro has 12 prior arrests, including for racketeering and murder in 1998, Sellick 23 prior arrests, primarily for bank robberies dating back to the 1970s, Spagnuolo six prior busts, including for a 1986 fatal shooting in Manhattan, and Cerchio prior arrests for conspiracy.

Frank DiPietro, Vincent Cerchio, Vincent Spagnuolo, and Michael Sellick.

According to the allegations in the complaints and other publicly filed documents:

On the morning of January 3, 2023, DiPietro, Cerchio, Spagnuolo, and Sellick together traveled to Midtown Manhattan in multiple vehicles. At approximately 10:20 a.m., an employee of Bayco Jewels located at Madison Ave near East 61st Street was preparing to place pieces of jewelry into the store’s street-level display case when DiPietro and Sellick, dressed in construction vests, entered the building from Madison Avenue.  

As shown in the image above, DiPietro pointed a gun at the employee and said “give it to me,” before Sellick said, “turn around and get in the closet.” 

DiPietro and Sellick fled the store with at least three pieces of high-end diamond jewelry, including a 73-carat necklace, 6-carat ring, and 17-carat pair of earrings, each of which is pictured below:

DiPietro, Sellick, Cerchio, and Spagnuolo then fled Midtown Manhattan. Surveillance footage from the area indicates that the defendants, including DiPietro and Cerchio, prepared for the robbery by “casing” the scene the day before.

On the morning of May 20, 2023, employees of a jewelry store on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan had just opened for business when DiPietro and Sellick— again masked and wearing construction vests — entered the store’s street-level front door. 

Sellick pointed a gun at the store’s employees and ordered them to the ground, while DiPietro gathered jewelry. 

After DiPietro and Sellick fled the store with the stolen goods, they first got in a getaway car driven by Sorce—who was also dressed like a construction worker—before switching to a second getaway car driven by Spagnuolo. 

The men swapped out the license plates for fraudulent ones the morning of the robbery, according to a criminal complaint.

Cops started pursuing one of the cars after someone at the lower Manhattan store called 911 later that morning. But the driver of the car abandoned it on Montgomery Street in the Lower East Side and fled on foot, the complaint alleges.

Sellick hefts gun on May 20 at the store on Elizabeth Street.

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll said: “The defendants allegedly brazenly robbed Manhattan jewelry stores of approximately $2 million worth of merchandise at gunpoint.  Violent robberies, especially those with firearms, will not be tolerated by the FBI and our partners in law enforcement.  The arrests today should serve as a warning to anyone willing to engage in armed robberies – you will face the consequences.”

NYPD Commissioner Sewell said: “The swift arrests in this case reaffirm the NYPD’s steadfast commitment, with its law enforcement partners, to hold everyone accused of violent acts accountable.  The charges these defendants face reflect a callous disregard for life, and they will now be held accountable.  I thank and commend the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, the New York Field Office of the FBI, and everyone who worked to achieve justice in this case.”

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexandra S. Messiter and Justin Horton are in charge of the prosecution.

DiPietri’s lawyer Mathew Mari told The Post: “Law enforcement was desperate to solve these cases so they are rounding up the usual suspects. This will be a trial that ends with the government having egg on their face!”

Sellick’s lawyer Gerald McMahon said the case against his client was “a terrible case of mistaken identity.”

The defendants were presented in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn.

All but Spagnuolo were reportedly held without bail.