Robbers caught on video burglarizing a hospitalized war veteran's Massachusetts home: Police

Vietnam War veteran is in a medically-induced coma due to severe burns.

April 11, 2019, 5:58 PM

The home of a Vietnam War veteran was targeted and robbed on two separate occasions by a pair of alleged thieves, who knew the owner was in the hospital recovering from severe burns, police said on Wednesday.

Sarah Anne Hampton and Joseph Migliaccio, both of Sudbury, Massachusetts, were arrested after they were caught on Gene Rano's home surveillance system for breaking into his house, said Detective Lieutenant Matthew R. Hassapes with the Marlborough Police Department.

Surveillance video allegedly showed Hampton, 31, and Migliaccio, 35, kick down the door and unload items — which included three televisions, a laptop and cellphone — into a waiting car.

"To prey on someone that's elderly and in a hospital, literally on their deathbed, it just raises the bar for the level of disgusting and inhumane people who are like this," said Nicholas Rano, the Vietnam War veteran's son.

Two people were caught on camera robbing the home of burn victim Gene Rano, who is fighting for his life at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Two people were caught on camera robbing the home of burn victim Gene Rano, who is fighting for his life at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Courtesy of family

The robbers struck twice on Friday and Sunday, said Assistant District Attorney Lyndsey Davis said at Hampton and Migilaccio's court appearance on Thursday.

Hampton and Migliaccio were in Marlborough District Court and charged with two counts of larceny over $250 from a person over the age of 60 and two counts of breaking and entering in the daytime to commit a felony, the Middlesex District Attorney's Office said.

Bail for both defendants was set at $1,000 cash and they were ordered to stay away from, and have no contact with, the victim and to stay away of the location of the alleged offense, prosecutors said. The pair made bail and left the court house soon after ABC affiliate WCVB reported.

The duo allegedly admitted to the burglary, claiming they did it because they needed money for surgery for one on their dogs, WCVB said.

Hampton and Migliaccio's attorneys could not be reached for comment by ABC News.

Gene Rano in an undated photo.
Gene Rano in an undated photo.
Courtesy of family

Footage from inside the home allegedly showed one of the thieves move a camera to the side to avoid being tapped.

As the alleged burglars were pawning the stolen goods at a pawn shop in Framingham, Massachusetts, the home's owner was hospitalized since April 2 after suffering severe burns from the waist down while burning debris in his yard, said Assistant Chief Jeff Gogan with the Marlborough Fire Department told ABC News.

The 68-year-old man was saved by his neighbor, said Gogan.

The elder Rano is still fighting for his life, but his son is hopeful for the future.

“My father’s an extremely tough man," said Nicholas Rano. "He’s made it through a lot of different trials and tribulations throughout his life, and I’m hoping this is just another one that he can make it through.”

Hampton and Migliaccio will be back in court on June 3rd.

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