Friday, December 03, 2010

Multi-talented felon testifies against Sarno - chicagotribune.com

Multi-talented felon testifies against Sarno - chicagotribune.com

A Cheerful hood,
In a cheerful, nasal voice, Knight described with a scholarly warmth his role in more than a dozen holdups and burglaries he committed with alleged members of Sarno's crew — often laughing as he recalled mishaps and sometimes mangling the pronunciation of the Italian surnames of his alleged co-conspirators.

Co-defendant Mark Hay, a serial burglar and prison pal of Knight's who also testified against Sarno, mentored him in robbing jewelry stores, Knight said. Alleged fence Mark Polchan, who is on trial with Sarno, taught him how to identify quality stones, he said.

When Knight was robbing a store, he would wear stage makeup, wigs and false beards. He smiled as he described how he once arrived at Polchan's Justice home after a holdup and Polchan remarked, "Wow, you really don't look like yourself."

Knight testified that another Sarno co-defendant, Samuel Volpendesto, took a keen interest in Knight's chemistry skills after watching Knight make his own fireworks at a July 4 party in 2002. Knight said Volpendesto quizzed him on making bombs, asking how to make a device that would blow out the windows on a building without damaging the structure.

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