Public Safety

Ex-state trooper appears in court as defendant, denies 20 criminal charges

Giancarlo DeGenova, a former trooper with the Vermont State Police, waits for the start of his arraignment in Chittenden County Superior criminal court in Burlington on Thursday, March 23. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

A former Vermont State Police trooper — who resigned amid a probe into alleged thefts from an evidence storage area totaling more than $40,000, and accusations of illegal purchases of prescription drugs while on duty — appeared in court Thursday and denied 20 criminal charges. 

Giancarlo DiGenova, 44, of Essex, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Chittenden County Superior criminal court in Burlington to 16 misdemeanors and four felony charges. He was released on conditions, including that he be screened for substance use disorder.

If DiGenova is convicted of all the charges, the maximum possible penalty would be 60 years in prison.

DiGenova was placed on paid leave in December and resigned in February after state police initiated a probe of missing items from evidence storage at the Williston barracks. 

State police announced last week the filing of charges against DiGenova and he made his first court appearance Thursday, standing in front of Judge Elizabeth Novotny for his arraignment.

In a twist, before becoming a judge, Novotny served as counsel for the Vermont Department of Public Safety, which includes Vermont State Police.

More than 40 pages of documents became public after DiGenova was arraigned Thursday, detailing the evidence behind state police allegations of theft, lying to police and illegally obtaining prescription drugs.

Giancarlo DeGenova arrives for his arraignment on Thursday. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

At one point in the investigation, when questioned about a missing Rolex watch from an evidence storage room, Detective Sgt. Jesse Robson of the Vermont State Police, an investigator in the case, wrote that DiGenova appeared to be getting frustrated.

“I, you know if, if I did something I would have fixed it,” Robson quoted DiGenova as stating.

“I wouldn’t have kept this going,” he added, the affidavit stated, “I didn’t do anything wrong other than trying to find my son a Christmas present. I’m sorry, birthday present.”

DiGenova also talked about how other troopers handled evidence, according to the affidavit.

“DiGenova spoke of knowing about how things that have happened in the past such as evidence getting flushed and that he keeps a lot of things in his back pocket just in case and told detectives that if he hears no one else got a knock on their door he was going to be pissed,” Robson wrote.

The accusations against DiGenova include theft of a Rolex from the temporary evidence storage room, as well as other items valued at more than $40,000.

Also, DiGenova is accused of taking a bag containing seized cellphones in June 2021 from a secure personal property storage area and later trying to sell two of the devices at an automated kiosk at the University Mall in South Burlington.

He also allegedly stole several bottles of ADHD medication meant for a child while he responded to a domestic disturbance at a Bolton home last May.

In addition, Robson wrote, in reviewing DiGenova’s state email account, investigators discovered that he was performing checks of vehicle identification numbers on behalf of a household member’s car registration business. 

The checks are required to be performed by personally inspecting the vehicles, though DiGenova attested to doing two physical checks on out-of-state trucks without ever seeing the vehicles, according to the charging documents. 

DiGenova was a trooper from 2009 until he resigned on Feb. 7. His assignments included the Williston, Middlesex and Bradford barracks, and the Narcotics Investigation Unit.

Giancarlo DeGenova, right, a former trooper with the Vermont State Police, appears with his attorney Robert Kaplan at his arraignment on Thursday. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Robert Kaplan, DiGenova’s attorney, said after the hearing that the allegations are “merely accusations” against his client at this point. 

“There is a long road ahead to get to the bottom of everything that’s been alleged against Mr. DiGenova,” Kaplan said.

“Mr. DiGenova is very proud of the work that he did as a law enforcement officer serving the people of this state,” the defense attorney added. “He hopes that the public will keep an open mind about these allegations that have been made against him and wait until the final resolution of this case to form a judgment about what has occurred.”

Asked if his client denied the allegations against him, Kaplan replied that he had nothing to add to the statement he’d already made. “That’s all we have to say right now,” he said.

Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George, the prosecutor in the case, also said the case still has a long way to go before reaching a resolution.

“Everybody deserves to be treated fairly through our system; everybody deserves compassion and mercy and understanding,” she said. “Our expectation is that everybody is held accountable in a way that makes sense for every case.”

For DiGenova, George said, that includes that he never again serve as a law enforcement officer. “Unfortunately, I think that trust is something he can’t get back. That doesn’t mean his life has to be ruined.”

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Alan J. Keays

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