February 4, 2005
Nationwide Search for Jewelers' Killer
Authorities continue a nationwide search for the man who gunned down Connecticut jewelers Timothy and Kimberly Ann Donnelly Feb. 2. He is identified as Christopher DiMeo, 23, of New York. Ballistics tests proved today the gun used to kill the Donnellys was the same weapon used in a December robbery at J&J Jewels in Glen Head, NY, during which manager Thomas Renison was killed. Police have received several reported sightings of the suspect from around the country. A state transportation worker reported seeing what he believed was the suspect's vehicle early Friday morning around Sherwood Island Park in Westport, CT, and police were following that lead.
DiMeo is also a suspect in three robberies in December and January of jewelry stores in Westchester, Rockland and Nassau counties in New York. The Jewelers' Security Alliance was checking other robberies around the country to see if there were similarities. Authorities believe DiMeo traveled across country in a stolen car after he was released from prison in California.
"He seems to be striking at not high-profile stores," said John Kennedy, president of JSA. "He's going to more mom-and-pop places. He could be looking for stores where there is not a lot of sales help." While jewelry store killings are common, the amount of time the robber spends in the store is unusual, Kennedy said. He stayed in each store for 20 to 45 minutes before pulling his gun, police said.
Winesses report he has piercing blue eyes, enters jewelry stores in quiet, affluent suburbs carrying a plastic shopping bag and chats at length with employees about buying a diamond engagement ring. "He comes into the store and makes everybody comfortable. He's receptive and talkative, not just with the clerks, but with customers in the store," said Detective Sgt. Anthony Repalone, spokesman for the Nassau County Police in New York. "All of a sudden things change and the violence escalates," Repalone said. "That's when he becomes violent and dangerous."