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Sports Field Vandals Plead No Contest, Agree to Pay Town [Video]

Mayor Joseph Polisena announced this morning that Raymond Zinno has already paid $6,500 toward repairing the soccer field he admitted to vandalizing in March.

 

The two Johnston men who admitted to and digging up the turf have agreed to pay $6,500 each toward fixing the damage they caused, Mayor Joseph Polisena announced at a press conference this morning.

Raymond Zinno, of of 42 Shore Dr., and Costanzo Caparrelli, of 57 Taylor Rd., 18 at the time of the vandalism, changed their previous not guilty pleas to no contest on Friday to one count each of destruction of public property.

Town Solicitor William Conley explained the men confessed to damaging the two fields — one at the town's soccer complex and the other behind the football field — and agreed to pay a total of $13,000 and perform 20 hours each of community service.

Polisena also said that Judge Frank Cereni of Third District Court, Warwick, ordered that Zinno and Caparrelli complete their service hours while local sports groups are playing.

"At least some of those community hours will be at times those fields are being used by the Johnston youth athletic groups, so that these defendants will understand the consequences of their actions and the impact that it has had on our youth and their families in our town," explained Polisena. "Maybe they'll see, really and truly, what they did to the children of our town."

Following Friday's court hearing, Conley said, Zinno paid his share of the restitution — and Polisena said he'll order Johnston Police officers to arrest Caparrelli if he fails to make his payment within the next few days.

"I'm going to wait, and if [Caparrelli] doesn't pay by Wednesday or Thursday, the latest, I'm going to have him arrested," Polisena explained during an interview after the press conference. "They need to know we mean business."

Since March, the fields were left untouched, and Polisena said that was to ensure that the defendants will be paying for the repairs — not the town.

"The restitution was a big issue — I wanted to make sure we got paid and that it did not come out of the taxpayers' money," Polisena stated.

Johnston Community Center Association Vice President Mark Gilmore, one of the organizers of the town's soccer programs, said he was pleased with the outcome.

"It's very positive — I'm glad to hear it, glad it all came together, and we're looking forward to getting back on the fields," Gilmore explained after the press conference.

Thanks to the work of Johnston Parks and Recreation Department staffers, Gilmore said the town's soccer league was able to use the outfields of baseball parks at Woodlake Park.

"They did a great job bringing us together," Gilmore explained. "They made some fields available and they lined the fields, so we actually got to play all our home games at home."

Polisena said he plans to "immediately put the work out to bid," with an expected completion date of fall, 2013.

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