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Ex-Worker for Smarts Indicted in Bank Heist

July 18, 2002|From Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — A former handyman who worked in the home of Elizabeth A. Smart was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on bank robbery charges.

Richard Ricci, who police say is a possible suspect in the gunpoint abduction of the 14-year-old from her bedroom early June 5, is accused of being a masked gunman who robbed a bank on Nov. 2, 2001.

Wednesday's charges are not associated with the girl's disappearance, authorities said.

Ricci, 48, and two others are accused of stealing $1,713 from the Far West Bank in Sandy, Utah. A 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol was used in the crime, authorities say.

Under the indictment, all three men face possible sentences of up to 10 years in federal prison for being felons in possession of firearms. The robbery charges carry a penalty of up to 25 years in prison.

Because Ricci has been convicted of violent felonies twice before, prosecutors say they will seek a mandatory life sentence under the federal three-strikes law.

Ricci has denied any involvement in the girl's kidnapping.

Ricci's attorney, David K. Smith, noted in a statement that the indictment "has nothing to do with the disappearance of Elizabeth Smart."

Ricci was charged in state court last week with allegedly stealing $3,500 in items from the Smart home and about $300 in cash from another home in the neighborhood last year. He worked as a handyman for both families, police said.

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