City prosecutors explain why vandalism case was dropped

A businessman accused of keying cars at an auto dealership had his case thrown out during trial. Prosecutors said they couldn't prove the case.

"My client says his reputation is ruined," John Grasso, defense attorney for Anthony Lombardi, said. "He feels very hurt, that first of all only a small segment of that video made its way into the public domain. And that people look at it and now feel, believe, wrongly believe that he's guilty of committing a crime that he didn't do."

In surveillance video, you can see Anthony Lombardi visiting Stevie D's Auto Sales in Warwick. The owner of the dealership, Steven Davis, said the video shows Lombardi keying five of his cars.

Those charges were dismissed. Lombardi's attorney said the video shows his client visiting one of his own customers and using one of the cars to steady himself.

"Mr. Lombardi is 80 years old and he has poor health and he has trouble walking," Grasso said.

Grasso said news outlets only saw a portion of the video that was shown in court. He said the video only showed his client near one of the cars.

Because of the limited video, Grasso even requested more of the surveillance video released for review. NBC 10 News obtained the subpoena paperwork,{} which said that additional video was recorded over.

The owner of Stevie D's refused to comment further when NBC 10 News tried to follow up with him Tuesday.

Court documents said the charges were dropped on May 13 based on facts and circumstances of the case.

Kerry Rafanelli, a prosecutor for the city of Warwick told NBC 10 the case was dismissed for several reasons. They couldn't authenticate the video, there wasn't picture or video evidence showing damage to all the cars, and some of the cars were moved before police arrived. Prosecutors said they couldn't prove how they got scratched.

Grasso said despite the dropped charges, his client has suffered greatly.

"He says that he's lost business from it. He's lost large accounts from it," Grasso said. "The reason that the evidence doesn't exist is because he didn't commit a crime."

Lombardi said he hopes one day his reputation can be repaired.