An attorney for Rockland County Republican Party chairman Vincent Reda of New City said Wednesday night that an investigation into a holiday shoplifting charge against Reda is leading to a dismissal of the charges in court.
In a statement issued Wednesday evening, attorney Robert V. Magrino of New City said the Dec. 26, 2010 incident at the Macy's department store at the Nanuet Mall was a mix up over an exchange of a gift — a pea coat — that Reda had received as a Christmas present from his daughter. After he was initially charged with petty larceny, Reda denied he was trying to steal the coat.
Magrino said the matter was resolved in the Village of Sloatsburg Justice Court today before Judge Thomas Newman after an investigation conducted by the Putnam County District Attorney's Office. Magrino said there will be an eventual dismissal of the charge, with no conditions on Reda.
The Justice Court session led to what is known as "Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal," which means that in six months the charge will be erased — as long as Reda does not find himself in trouble with the law during that time. Magrino said Reda is not being required to do anything in return for the dismissal.
After the court session, Reda said he felt justice was done.
"My faith in the justice system is restored," said Reda, 76, who is also first vice chairman of the New York State Republicans. "I'm certainly glad this is behind us."
Reda, who is well-known for his outspoken leadership of Rockland County Republicans, said his political position led to the shoplifting case against him dragging out months longer than it should have.
Because of Reda's position, the Rockland County District Attorney's Office asked prosecutors from Putnam County to handle the case. While the incident happened in the Town of Clarkstown, judges there removed themselves from possibly hearing the case. The case was to be heard in Haverstraw, but judges there, t00, removed themselves from consideration for the case.
"This went on for months longer than it should have because of my position," said Reda. "If I was just your average citizen this would have been dismissed in January."
Reda said that the bottom line in the holiday incident was that he did not leave the Macy's store and that he had mixed up two coats as he was in the process of returning a coat that did not fit. Reda said is glad the court case is behind him so it will no longer be a distraction as he prepares to lead local Republicans in a very busy political year.
This year, all 17 members of the Rockland County Legislature are up for election, and the Sheriff's Office is up for grabs as longtime Sheriff James Kralik, a Sloatsburg Republican, retires. Key positions are also up for election in all five Rockland towns.
The Rockland County Repubican Committee is set to have its county nominating convention on Wednesday, June 1 at Clarkstown Town Hall.
Here is the text of Magrino's statement for Reda:
We are pleased that the Putnam County District Attorney’s Office conducted their investigation into this case and decided to adjourn the case resulting in an ultimate dismissal of the charges.
From the very beginning of the case, we cooperated and provided information to the District Attorney’s Office and requested that they investigate the matter thoroughly.
We provided them with the name and sworn statement of a witness to the matter who was present with Mr. Reda while he was at Macy’s in Nanuet. That witness stated that on 12/26/10, Mr. Reda went to Macy's with the witness to exchange a coat he received as a gift from his daughter on Christmas Day. The coat did not fit him correctly. He had the coat on a hanger in a bag along with the receipt for the coat. His intention was to exchange the coat for the same coat in his size.
While trying on some of the same coats, he placed one on his arm, placing the coat he brought with him over the same arm, while he continued to search for a better fitting coat.
Since he could not find a coat with a better fit, they decided to leave and try the Macy’s at Palisades Mall on another day. When Mr. Reda and the witness went to leave the store the security alarm sounded and Mr. Reda realized he still had one of the coats underneath the one he wanted to exchange, on his arm. He immediately put the coat back on a counter at the store, in full view of store security, who asked him to go to their office.
A Macy’s security guard called Police after Mr. Reda refused to sign a statement prepared by Macy’s security wherein Macy’s security wanted Mr. Reda to admit that he was trying to steal a coat. Mr. Reda was issued an appearance ticket by the Clarkstown Police at the request of the store security guard on the basis of the security guard's claim that he tried to conceal the jacket and tried to leave the store. The charges were signed by the Macy’s security guard, not the Clarkstown Police Department. Macy’s claims no video of the incident ever existed.
At no time did Mr. Reda leave the store or intend to take a coat from Macy’s. At no time did Mr. Reda “stuff a coat into a plastic bag” as has been previously reported.
Mr. Reda is gratified that the investigation by the District Attorney will result in an ultimate dismissal of the charges, with no conditions. Mr. Reda is a person who has served his country and community throughout his life.
Below is a list of organizations and charitable groups that he has been honored to be associated with over the years:
New York State Guard--rank of Major(ret)
Rockland County Sheriff Reserve Patrol
National Italian-American Foundation
Order Sons Of Italy- New City NY
Clarkstown Rotary- Past President
American Legion- New City NY
Rockland County Korean War Vets
Former member Haverstraw Elks
Rockland County Republican Committee 35 years
Eucharistic Minister, St. Augustine’s Church New City, NY