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Police Arrest 'Con Artist' in West Harrison

HARRISON, N.Y. –  Harrison Police have arrested a man from Italy they say is part of a ring of scammers preying on Italians living in the region.

Police charged Gaetano Zampino, 45, with scheme to defraud, a misdemeanor.

Harrison Police said that Zampino, a resident of Italy who is currently staying in New Jersey, was arrested at 1 p.m. Wednesday after his vehicle was pulled over at the intersection of Park Avenue and Madison Street in West Harrison.

Police Chief Anthony Marraccini said the scam appears to be coming out of a ring in New Jersey, though only Zampino allegedly scammed people in Harrison. The ring allegedly targets people from Italy who may not be familiar with American culture and the English language.  Marraccini said that Zampino would approach people while they were outside of their homes and try to sell them inexpensive coats for a higher price than they are worth.

“These people pull up to homes and speak fluent Italian to our residents,” Marraccini said. “They would gain their confidence by mentioning certain things they would be familiar with, like places in Italy or surnames they might be familiar with.”

Marraccini said that if people in town have elderly parents from Italy living in town, they should tell them about what has been going on. Marraccini said some people might be apprehensive about reporting it because they were embarrassed that they were taken by a con artist.

“These people have done extensive research in Harrison because of its Italian population,” Marraccini said. “We are very fortunate that at least one man has been apprehended.”

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