WILLISTON — A longtime Vermont State Police trooper, who was put on leave after a $14,000 Rolex watch disappeared from a storage area at the Williston barracks, is facing 16 criminal charges across two counties, officials announced this afternoon.
Former State Trooper Giancarlo DiGenova, 44, of Essex, is due for arraignment on Thursday in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington and again in court in Barre on April 6, department spokesman Adam Silverman said. He resigned Feb. 7.
The investigation started as one complaint, but eventually spread to four cases, including one handled by the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles, police said. The incidents happened between June 2021 and November 2022.
One case involves charges of grand larceny over $900, neglect of duty, furnishing false information to police and unprofessional conduct, police said.
The second case involves charges of petty larceny under $900, sale of stolen property and neglect of duty, police said.
The third case involves charges of petty larceny by fraud or deceit, and neglect of duty, police said.
The fourth case, which was handled by the Vermont DMV, involves false swearing, neglect of duty and applications to be under oath, police said.
DiGenova arrived at the state police barracks in Royalton for processing this morning. He was taken into custody, fingerprinted, photographed and released with his court citations, Silverman said.
The initial case mushroomed when investigators determined the state trooper was a suspect in additional instances of stealing personal property from storage areas, using his position to gain access to these secure rooms, Silverman said.
State police said Monday the missing Rolex actually was included in a bag that contained about $40,000 in property, including diamond stud earrings, Apple AirPods wireless headphones, and a designer brand wallet and keychain.
A fellow trooper, aware of the missing property, subsequently reported to supervisors that DiGenova had showed him a Rolex that DiGenova claimed to have purchased on eBay, police said.
Vermont State Police said it eventually recovered the Rolex from the home of a relative of DiGenova in Massachusetts. The rest of the property remains missing.
During the investigation, state police learned of more instances of missing property from storage areas that DiGenova had accessed, and additional detectives were assigned to pursue these leads.
According to court paperwork supporting the criminal charges, DiGenova took a bag containing seized cellphones in June 2021 from a secure personal property storage area at the Berlin barracks, and subsequently attempted to sell two of the devices at an automated kiosk at the University Mall in South Burlington, state police said.
Silverman said DiGenova successfully completed one transaction. Evidence shows he falsely marked the cellphones as “destroyed” in the state police’s property and evidence inventory tracking system.
In one case, detectives determined during a response by DiGenova to a disturbance call involving a juvenile at a private residence in Bolton on May 2022, he took possession of several bottles of medication for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder prescribed for the child, and it is believed several pills were stolen, Silverman said.
Law enforcement reviewed DiGenova’s state email account and discovered he was performing checks of vehicle identification numbers on behalf of a household member’s car registration business, police said.
Although these VIN verification checks are required to be performed by personally inspecting the vehicle, DiGenova attested to completing two physical checks on out-of-state vehicles without ever seeing the vehicles involved, Silverman said.
The Vermont DMV handled those charges of false swearing, neglect of duty and applications to be under oath.
Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, the state police director, clearly was unhappy with the latest misconduct case by one of his troopers.
"The charges against former state trooper Giancarlo DiGenova as outlined in court documents represent an extraordinary betrayal of the public’s trust, his oath as a sworn police officer and his colleagues in law enforcement who serve the state honorably every day," he said.
"I know all Vermonters are angered and disappointed. So am I. Your outrage is appropriate. But I also want you to know that the system worked as well as it can when someone is determined to commit crimes by abusing their power and trust," he said.
"The former trooper’s actions were uncovered by his peers, who reported him to supervisors. We launched an intensive, lengthy and comprehensive investigation that led to the filing of serious criminal charges. And we have reviewed our policies and procedures, making changes where necessary and increasing the oversight already in place," Birmingham said.
He said it was important to note evidence in criminal cases was never compromised. The trooper’s conduct involved personal items that had been seized or surrendered.
Birmingham said the department has taken several internal steps to improve the storage of property.
Vermont State Police initially hired DiGenova on July 22, 2009, and he graduated from the Vermont Police Academy as a trooper second class on Dec. 4, 2009. He was assigned the next month to patrol Chittenden and Lamoille counties out of the Williston barracks.
He completed his probationary year and was elevated to trooper first class on July 20, 2010. Three months later, he transferred to the Bradford barracks but resigned in April 2011.
State police rehired him Feb. 26, 2012, at Williston and two years later transferred him into the Vermont Drug Task Force. He was an acting sergeant in the drug unit from Sept. 13, 2017, to June 24, 2018, and was transferred back to uniform at the Middlesex barracks to serve as an acting sergeant from Aug. 18, 2019, to Oct. 27, 2019.
DiGenova transferred back to the Williston barracks on March 29, 2020, and served as an acting patrol sergeant from Nov. 7, 2020, to Jan. 16, 2022. He remained at the barracks until his suspension on Dec. 19.