Screen grabs from security-camera footage posted on YouTube show a a thief breaking into Steffan D’Alessandro’s twin brother’s apartment and making off with more than $25,000 in cash and cheques. Montreal newlyweds Steffan D’Alessandro and Magdalena Tarczynski received the money at their wedding.
Photograph by: YouTube, The Gazette
MONTREAL – Steffan D’Alessandro and his wife returned from their 11-day honeymoon in Jamaica last month eager to tell their families about their trip.
But shortly after doing so, the newlyweds were asked to watch a bizarre video that showed a thief breaking into D’Alessandro’s twin brother’s apartment and fleeing with $13,000 in cash and $14,000 in cheques that the young couple had received from their wedding guests.
D’Alessandro and his wife, Magdalena Tarczynski, could hardly believe their eyes.
During the five-minute video, the brazen robber picks the lock on the front door, leaves the door open, makes a phone call on his cellphone and then rushes from the apartment. He returns a minute later with gloves on, heads straight to the bedroom and appears to shove an envelope down his trousers before fleeing.
Amazingly, the robbery was caught by a security camera that Jay D’Alessandro had installed in his Côte St. Luc apartment several months ago. Jay D’Alessandro, a security camera buff, said he has no idea who stole the money, but he posted the surveillance video of the robbery on YouTube and Facebook, hoping the public will be able to help identify the thief.
The money and cheques had been locked in a computer desk drawer for three days when the robber broke into the apartment on July 22.
Jay D’Alessandro, 26, had been planning to go to the wedding hall two days later to pay the outstanding $13,000 bill for the reception while his brother was on his honeymoon.
Steffan D’Alessandro said his twin brother was devastated when he told him about the robbery.
“He was practically going to cry,” he recalled. “But I told him not to worry, that it was just money and that something worse could have happened.”
While the couple was away, their families contacted their guests and asked those who had written cheques to cancel them. Several guests wrote new cheques, for larger amounts, because they felt sorry for the young couple.
D’Alessandro’s parents ended up footing the bill for the wedding hall.
Jay D’Alessandro said he returned home a few hours after the robbery and discovered his apartment door was unlocked. He headed into his bedroom and his heart sank when he saw that two drawers had been ripped apart and the money was gone.
“I felt terrible,” he said. “I was thinking: ‘How am I going to explain this to him?’ I had the responsibility of paying the hall and the money was stolen.”
D’Alessandro said he called 911 and viewed the surveillance tape, a copy of which he has given to police. “I was thinking: ‘Who is this guy?’ I have never seen him before. Thank God I had the surveillance tape – it wouldn’t look to good on my side.”
After witnessing the bizarre behaviour of the thief – including watching him make a phone call as he searches the apartment – Jay D’Alessandro said he thinks someone may have sent the robber to his home. But he has no idea who because very few people knew he had the money.
“My laptop and Palm Pilot were left untouched,” he said. “The only thing was missing was money.”
Commander Sylvain Bissonnette of Station 9 in Côte St. Luc also watched the video and said the thief didn’t use the standard modus operandi of a robber. Most thieves head straight to the master bedroom and search drawers near the bed for money or other valuable items, then flee as quickly as possible, Bissonnette said.
That was not done in this case.
“He doesn’t close the door,” Bissonnette said. “He makes a phone call. He leaves and then comes back. It is very bizarre.”
Anyone who recognizes the thief is asked to call police at 514-280-0909.