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Former Solebury police detective Roy Ferrari jailed for thefts and cover-up

Ferrari in 1980 as a New Hope police officer.

Ferrari in 1980 as a New Hope police officer.

A former Solebury Township detective was sentenced Wednesday to three to 23 months in the Bucks County Correctional Facility after admitting to two thefts and falsifying records to cover his tracks.

Roy Ferrari, 66, a police officer for four decades, blamed his crimes on alcoholism, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder from his service in the Vietnam War.

“If I had been in my right mind, none of this would have happened,” Ferrari told Bucks County President Judge Jeffrey L. Finley. “I apologize from the bottom of my heart. My behavior has ruined me.”

Ferrari pleaded guilty in February to charges of theft, tampering with public records and tampering with evidence. Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to a second theft before being sentenced.

Ferrari resigned when the initial charges were filed in September, and has forfeited his police pension. He told Finley that he intended to commit suicide after being charged, but that his wife intervened. She took him to an inpatient mental health facility in New Jersey, where he stayed for 12 days and began treatment for PTSD and alcoholism. Ferrari said he has been sober since Oct. 11, and attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every day.

Ferrari’s first charged theft occurred on July 4. While working in plainclothes, the detective stole a four-foot level, valued at $25, from an unoccupied building on Windy Bush Road in Solebury. The theft was captured by a security camera that the property owners had installed because of prior tool thefts.

The owners turned the images over to Solebury Police Chief Dominick Bellizzie. The chief recognized Ferrari as the thief and contacted Bucks County detectives to investigate.

The detectives copied the images onto a second photo card and placed the duplicate into an envelope purporting to come from property owner Charles Ehne. Detectives then created a note, bearing Ehne’s name and a phone number, requesting that police look at the camera card and investigate the thefts. The note explained that Ehne had been unable to view the camera card on his own computer and did not know what evidence might be on it.

The note was placed into the envelope with the photo card and given to Chief Bellizzie. On Sept. 18, Bellizzie handed the envelope to Ferrari and asked him to look into Ehne’s complaints.

Ferrari viewed the photo card and recognized himself in the images. He then called the phone number on the note, which was answered by a county detective pretending to be Ehne.

Ferrari told the detective that there were no images on the photo card documenting any thefts or any person who might have committed them. He then drafted a false police report and deleted the incriminating images from the photo card.

Three days later, when confronted by detectives, Ferrari admitted that he had taken the level. He blamed it on a momentary lapse in judgment.

A second theft surfaced after Ferrari’s resignation. An Apple laptop computer that had been held as evidence in a burglary investigation was found in the trunk of Ferrari’s unmarked police vehicle.

Ferrari had received the computer into evidence in 2013 from a police department in Massachusetts where a burglary suspect had been arrested. A detective took the laptop to an FBI lab for analysis, which showed that Ferrari had been using it for personal emails and web browsing, rather than storing it as evidence.

Detectives determined that the laptop was registered to a Lower Makefield resident who had reported it stolen in 2013. The suspected burglar has since died of a heroin overdose, said Deputy District Attorney Robert James, who prosecuted Ferrari.

Questioned by Finley about his theft of the level, Ferrari said, “I just did it and I can’t explain it.” When asked why he tried to cover it up, he said, “I couldn’t admit to myself that it was me” in the photos. “So I lied.”

James told Finley that Ferrari, instead of taking full responsibility, had criticized Bellizzie. Ferrari complained to the chief that, instead of having him investigated, Bellizzie should have handled the matter internally and simply fired him.

“The expression we all know is that the cover-up is worse than the original crime,” Finley said. “That is certainly the case here.”

In addition to the jail sentence, Finley placed Ferrari on five years of concurrent probation and ordered him to perform 250 hours of community service. The judge said public officials should be held to a higher standard when they abuse the public’s trust.

“You betrayed your family, you betrayed your community, you betrayed your badge when you fabricated these records,” Finley said.

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  • The article said he suffered from PTSD and alcoholism, more than likely from PTSD furthermore likely from serving in Vietnam! That’s how I’m seeing it. There are reactions called triggers which at any time can cause a person to do something out of their normal character, like theft. It’s a switch due to mental trauma. It was a bad thing to do, however the way the PD and other detectives went about letting him know was pretty messed up. He lost his lifes work (pension) and I’m sure the rest of the ones convicting him are angels themselves right? It should’ve been handled internally if the dept had internal affairs and reimbursement should’ve been made to the owner along with a demotion due to worsening PTSD. Just hope that none of you guys have to experience anything close to what our vets have!!

  • The crime does not seem to fit the punishment here. An officer or almost 40 years, loses his pension AND gets jail time AND 5 years probation for a misdemeanor crime??? Police who KILL people don’t always get that kind of punishment (or any at all). Also interesting how he was set up by his chief and fellow detectives regarding the evidence tape. If the chief knew it was Ferrari in the video, why didn’t he just confront him? The whole thing could have been handled so much better. Clearly the guy had issues. But instead of helping him out, they strung him out. And his wife left in financial ruin, with no pension. I don’t get it. Chief is a dangerous boss.

  • Pink Flamingo, thank you for posting such intelligent statements. May I suggest once again that you consider learning how to properly construct a sentence; there is nothing wrong with using semicolons. I would not want to read about the grammar police having to arrest you.

    • All I can say that Solebury PD and Maggie Snow are all together when traffic cases in her court. The cops lie to their teeth during ‘the hearing’. Instead of questioning cops, she questioning defendants. You are ‘PRESUMED GUILTY’
      till proven innocent’ in her court. Complained about her and this cop, got me nowhere. The whole system is corrupt and all they care about is to get your money, no matter what. Agree, SNOW SHE SHOULD BE FIRED and never be in justice system for the rest of her life!

  • Imagine what would happen if the crimes that Detective Ferrari was busted for were just the tip of the iceberg. People who felt that they did not get a fair shake with Ferrari being the officer involved in a case, may come forward and demand that the cases be reopened.

    • I didn’t get a fair shake and tried… Useless. Ferrari was assigned to my claim against Solebury cop before his theft was exposed. Chief Belizzi didn’t not re-opened investigation.

  • As a police officer, obviously flawed. As a person, Roy has worked hard to get things straight and be there for his family. For this, we wish him (and his family) the very best in getting through this.

  • This guy was a peice of garbage. He went as far planting stuff in peoples cars to make bogus arrests. im glad he got what he deserved. And to think that you all have pitty for someone that tampers with evidence is a real shame.

  • While what he did is abhorrent, his ownership of his crimes and subsequent surrender of himself and the benefits he was to receive as a result of being a law enforcement officer is commendable and shows remorse. I’m glad his sentence isn’t too harsh, but also glad that he has one. I will keep him in my prayers as he seeks treatment for his mental illness.

  • I’ve never had any encounters with this rascal, but I know many that have, and he had it coming to him. The article failed to mention that Judge Maggie Snow dismissed the laptop issue. Some judges lack the courage to be independent thinkers and always side with the cops.

    • ” an officers job is to go home to his family, NOT not to serve and protect” said Judge Maggie Snow,it’s all about money,NOT justice

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