Suffolk County police arrested Diana Censoprano and Spencer Stewart in Riverhead Monday night in a car loaded with stolen auto parts. Police said the vehicle had its headlights off and was backing down a dirt road near a junkyard.
Censoprano's 8-year-old daughter and Stewart climbed the junkyard fence to help steal radiators, tires and rims, while her 4-year-old son stood watch while her, police said. A video shows that Stewart climbed over the fence first, then helped the girl. Police said the two were in the junkyard for several hours. Then the video shows the girl getting into the car and Stewart apparently loading the proceeds inside.
Police said when they pulled over the car Monday night, Censoprano was driving and Stewart had her 4-year-old son in his lap.
Censoprano and Stewart are charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen property and child endangerment. The children are now in the custody of a relative, and the case has been referred to child welfare authorities.
Censoprano was released from jail Wednesday. When asked if there was anything she wanted to say to her children, Censoprano said, "I feel very bad, I do feel very bad." She said that a lack of money for her children motivated the incident.
Censoprano's attorney Carl Irace says Censoprano also has psychiatric issues and was off her medicine. "She's a mother who has fallen on hard times," he said. "She couldn't afford her medicine and these are all-important factors in her life."
A Mid-Island Auto Wreckers representative said the duo has stealing for the past year -- about $1,000 in scrap each time. "It's terrible, I feel bad for the kids," said Jesse Marro, of Mid-Island Auto Wreckers.