N.Y. man is robbed of comic books, dies

Associated Press / October 20, 2010

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ALBANY, N.Y. — An unassuming 77-year-old bachelor who had hoped to sell a valuable comic book collection and leave the money to his family was robbed by a Rochester businessman’s thugs, was roughed up, and hours later died of a heart attack, authorities said.

Homer Marciniak got his first comic book when he was 6 and hoped to leave his sisters and nephew with the proceeds from the collection, valued at $40,000 to $100,000, said Jose Avila, police chief in Medina, a village in rural western New York between Rochester and Buffalo.

That quest took him to several comic book shops in the Rochester area, and to Rico Vendetti, the owner of a tavern and a restaurant who once owned a collectibles business, the police chief said.

“I think he ran into the wrong person, and this person thought, ‘This is something I can get from this guy,’ ’’ Avila said.

Marciniak, who wasn’t married and had no children, was a “very well-known, very quiet church-going man’’ around Medina who had worked as a janitor at a bank, Avila said.

Thieves broke into his home around 4 a.m. July 5 and hit him in the face. He was treated at a hospital, returned home that afternoon, was interviewed by police, and died of the heart attack after the officers left, the police chief said. He had a heart condition, authorities said.

The case broke Thursday night when a woman charged with prostitution in Rochester gave investigators information that led to the arrest, said Joseph Cardone, district attorney for Orleans County.

Police charged Vendetti, 41, and Juan Javier, 17, with burglary. They are not charged with beating Marciniak and will not be charged with murder, Avila said.

Vendetti was freed after posting $100,000 bail Friday. Javier was arraigned Monday and jailed on $100,000 bail. top stories on Twitter

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