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DA: Career burglar convicted in new Rotterdam case; Sentence of up to life sought

DA: Career burglar convicted in new Rotterdam case; Sentence of up to life sought

Before his two convictions this year, he'd been previously convicted in commercial burglaries six other times, prosecutors say
DA: Career burglar convicted in new Rotterdam case; Sentence of up to life sought
Timothy Cipriani, insets and background. Left inset and background from his 2011 arrest
Photographer: Rotterdam Police (left inset and background); Schenectady County DA (right inset)

SCHENECTADY - A career burglar who has repeatedly burglarized businesses in the Rotterdam area has been convicted again and prosecutors will again ask for a sentence of up to life in prison, Schenectady County District Attorney's officials said.

The conviction - and another recent one - follows the case the man is perhaps best known for, the 2011 burglary at a Rotterdam pizza shop where he got stuck in the shop's duct system.

Timothy Cipriani, 55, formerly of Schenectady, was convicted Tuesday in Schenectady County Court of third-degree burglary. 

The jury found him guilty of breaking into Maxon's American Grill in Rotterdam March 25, 2018.

In that case, prosecutors argued Cipriani broke in just before 1 a.m. through a vent in the kitchen and tried to steal a cash box. As he moved inside, though, he triggered the business' security alarm. Officers responded, but he had already fled, prosecutors said.

A search of the business, though, uncovered a glove left behind a pizza oven in the kitchen, prosecutors said. The glove contained Cipriani's DNA. The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Chandler Frontero

Cipriani was arrested in July 2018 after another Rotterdam burglary, that one at the Fu Sing Restaurant. A jury convicted him in that case in April. He awaits sentencing.

In both cases, prosecutors indicated they will ask Judge Matthew Sypniewski for the maximum possible sentence, one as a persistent felon. He would face up to 25 years to life on each with the designation.

Prior to this year's convictions, Cipriani had previously been convicted six other times of similar burglaries, Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said in a statement. 

"All of that crime has been extremely costly to our business community and he has proven time and again that he is an undeterred recidivist," Carney said.

Prosecutors previously asked for a sentence of up to life in prison for Cipriani in the 2011 case, but the judge in that case declined and instead sentenced Cipriani to 3.5 to 7 years.

Cipriani admitted in that case that he burglarized Paesan’s Pizza on Guilderland Avenue on March 18, 2011. 

Cipriani’s identity as the burglar was never in doubt. In the process of breaking in, he got stuck in the pizzeria’s duct work. Evidence photos of him dangling from the ducts were disseminated widely in news stories over the Internet.

Cipriani’s guilty plea then left open what his final sentence would be. He brokered the deal directly with then-Judge Karen Drago.

Drago found the greater sentence, the equivalent of a second-degree murder conviction, to be too great and called on the state Legislature to give judges more flexibility in sentencing persistent non-violent offenders. The minimum sentence under such a designation is 15 years to life.

Previous: Rotterdam pizzeria burglar avoids lift term, Jan. 15, 2013

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