Clipped From Hartford Courant
r?nntinnpH frnm nroviniiB naoa Officials will not say what, if anything, they have learned from watching the tapes made by security cameras mounted on the roof of the Trumbull mall. It is possible the tapes picked up the car being abandoned at the lot and the driver who brought it there. Jt is equally possible that the cameras, which police said often are not loaded, recorded nothing. Police believe DeBrizzi's body and the car were in the parking lot through six days of mostly freezing temperatures before the body was discovered Friday. DeBrizzi's was the first slaying of an organized crime leader in Connecticut since Frank Piccolo a "capo," or captain, in the Gambino family was shot to death at a Bridgeport telephone booth in September 1981. Law enforcement officials say Piccolo's killing was sanctioned by the family, but was unique in that the contract apparently was given to members of another crime family to carry out. DeBrizzi was a longtime associate of Piccolo's and had been a "made" member one trusted by the inner circle of the Gambino family at least since 1966, law enforcement officials say. He took over for Piccolo after Piccolo's killing, in an otherwise orderly succession, officials say. The two men had lived in the same blue-collar neighborhood in Stratford. As the Gambino family's highest-ranking member in Connecticut DeBrizzi was one of a dozen or so crime family members and associates in the state, law enforcement officials say. Stamford Deputy Police Chief George Mayer, a 28-year veteran of the force who has made a hobby of tracking organized crime, said there has been competition among the crime families for turf in Fairfield County. "Fairfield County has really been the unpicked plum on the East Coast" Mayer said. "No one family has been able to say that they run everyinmg," contrary to most other the East Coast cities. Mayer refused to speculate on the meaning or possible repercussions of ueenzzi s siaymg. DeBrizzi was convicted nf mnnina an illegal gambling operation in the T7l f ; l J r a raurieia county area mat Drougnt in millions of dollars a vear Hp had a tough demeanor and was given to violent outDursts, ponce say. Unlike many of his rank, DeBrizzi did not manaee his nneratinn frnm a distance, but took a hands-on ap- proacn, law enforcement officials say. Police were pleasantly surprised when a 1984 raid of his Stratford home turned up extensive records of a bookmaking operation. "He was the custodian of the records," one law enforcement officer said. "He wasn't insulated at all in 1984." DeBrizzi, whose criminal career naa begun when he was a teenager, was arrested on racketeering and gambling charges in that raid, and he was sentenced in 1985 to serve 90 days of a three-year sentence. Also convicted in connertinn vtith thai- raid were DeBrizzi's son, Curtis, and uettrizzi s orotner, Vincent. Riccio has told investigators he last saw DeBrizzi at a Howard Johnson restaurant in Stamford on Jan. 30 the Saturday afternoon DeBrizzi's wife saw him leaving with Riccio to do some shopping. DeBrizzi told Riccio he wanted the car for half an hour and to wait for him at the restaurant investigators saia. kiccio waited nearly three hours and then began making a series of calls that led tn a miocino person report on DeBrizzi being iiiea. Fairfield County State's Attorney Donald A. Browne is far from optimistic about the chances of making an arrest in the slaying. "We're certainly not going to say this case isn't going to be solved," he said. "I'm just going to say I'm not confident." "These are always difficult cases because there are rarely ever any witnesses," he said.