'A pandemic of violence': Gates Police give update on deadly attempted carjacking

Updated: May 03, 2021 12:20 PM
Created: May 03, 2021 06:20 AM

GATES, N.Y. (WHEC) — One of the teens arrested in connection to a deadly attempted carjacking earlier last month already had an outstanding warrant for car thefts in Florida.

Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode Monday said 16-year-old Edgar Tolentino was wanted for grand theft auto in Hillsborough County, Florida when he was arrested on April 9.

He's one of two teens charged with shooting and killing Richard Sciascia on April 7. Both Tolentino and Anthony Jacobs and are behind bars without bail in connection to the killing. The arrest report said Tolentino “caused (Sciascia’s) death by shooting him.”

Sciascia, 71, was driving down Buell Road near the airport when the shooting happened, he was on his way to visit his son at the time.

Gates Police formed a Multi-Agency Carjacking Task Force and the United States Marshalls Office Fugitive TASK Force within hours of the killing

VanBrederode laid out a timeline as part of his briefing Monday. He said the killing was preceded by a series of thefts, starting with Tolentino's alleged theft of two cars in Hillsborough. Police say the first theft happened in a Walmart parking lot on Feb. 28. Tolentino is accused of taking the car from someone after setting up a meeting over Facebook Marketplace. A similar theft happened on March 4.

Police say Tolentino was in Florida to visit his mother.

Following the Florida thefts, VanBrederode said Tolentino "drove up the east coast" in the second stolen car and held on to it until a car theft in Batavia, Genesee County on March 15. In that case, VanBrederode said Facebook Marketplace was used again.

Following the Batavia theft, Gates Police say several area car thefts began. Officers say the Facebook method was abandoned, and soon tactics like "bump and tap" crashes and tricking drivers into thinking they had tire problems were used. In a few instances, guns were pointed.

On April 8, police found a car matching the description of the car involved in Sciascia's killing, which was caught on surveillance camera. A teenager was taken into police custody, but was determined to not be involved, and was released. VanBrederode said this incident helped police gather leads.

VanBrederode credited the finding of the car to the work of the task force. He also called the carjackings, along with other incidents in communities like the city of Rochester, a "pandemic of violence."

Sciascia's family told News10NBC that despite the arrests, it will take a long time for them to recover from this loss.

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