Suspect in deadly robberies arrested

Saturday, February 5, 2005

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- A man suspected of killing three jewelers during a robbery spree in New York and Connecticut was captured Friday, holed up with his girlfriend in a motel room on the casino strip, just a block from police headquarters.

Christopher DiMeo, 23, surrendered peacefully after officers surrounded the Ascot Motel, where he and his girlfriend had checked in Thursday.

Police evacuated the motel before a city police negotiator reached DiMeo by phone. After about an hour of talks, an unarmed DiMeo surrendered, according to Maj. John Hunt of the New Jersey State Police.

Authorities believe DiMeo chatted up store employees for as long as 45 minutes before the robberies, saying he was looking for an engagement ring, then pulled out a gun and took merchandise worth hundreds of thousands of dollars altogether. Police had described him as talkative and engaging, with piercing blue eyes.

He was jailed on a parole violation from New York state, but is suspected in four robberies and three killings, including the deaths of a couple Wednesday in Fairfield, Conn., Hunt said.

The motel is across the street from the Tropicana Casino and Resort and is one block from the city's Public Safety Building, where the state attorney general was meeting with Atlantic City school officials and local police and state police about recent violence in the city.

"Talk about bad timing on his part," Attorney General Peter Harvey said later. "He's got the top law enforcement people from the county and the state literally one block away from where he's holed up."

In Fairfield, Conn., police said DiMeo would likely be charged with the Connecticut shootings.

"We are thrilled with the job all the police did -- New York, Connecticut and New Jersey," said Mike Donnelly, brother of Timothy Donnelly, one of the victims.

DiMeo was expected to be arraigned Monday.

Associated Press writers John Christoffersen in Fairfield, Conn., and Frank Eltman in New York contributed to this story.

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