It should be a given among criminals that if you get yourself in a pinch with the law, keep your mom and dad out of the mess. But a Boca Raton man who was busted for illegally selling firearms at gun shows only compounded his headaches by roping his parents into a federal investigation.
In early February, Robert Deblasio III was arrested after a yearlong undercover sting conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). As part of the seizure, investigators were looking for money and jewelry the suspect may have used his illegal means to obtain. That's partly what investigators were seeking when they searched his Woodspring Avenue home on February 11.
As agents searched the home, they realized Deblasio had a safe in the floor of his master bedroom's closet. They planned to get a search warrant for the safe the next day. In the meantime, ATF agents asked Deblasio's parents, Robert Jr. and Elizabeth, if they knew what was inside. The father "stated that his son kept his wallet and some semi-nude photographs in the safe."
When law enforcement returned the next day, however, the safe was open -- and empty. Investigators confronted the Deblasios about it, and they claimed they'd taken only the naughty pics out of the safe.
But neighbors told investigators they'd spotted an elderly couple at the house late at night and in the early hours moving items from the house. The agents decided to comb through the phone logs of conversations Deblasio was having from the Palm Beach County Jail. A recording told a different story when investigators heard Deblasio giving his parents the code to the safe. "Listen!," the suspect told his parents over the phone. "There's money in that safe."
"OK," Elizabeth told her son.
"OK? Just get the whole -- take the whole fucking safe," he said. "Just take the whole fucking safe."
Robert Jr. and Elizabeth are now both facing charges of concealing an object for its use in an official proceeding, removal to prevent seizure, and aiding and abetting.