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December 27, 2013

Renert in custody after Monday incident

Smalley's Theater, 7th Inning Stretch site of attack, shooting

Cooperstown Crier

---- — Barry M. Renert, identified by law enforcement officials as the gunman who menaced a Cooperstown shopkeeper Monday has been captured by police in Richmond, Va., Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl said this morning.

Renert, 62, was taken into custody about 10:30 Monday night while waiting to board a bus at a Greyhound station, and the rented black sedan he used to flee upstate New York was found nearby, the prosecutor said.

An arrest warrant for Barry M. Renert has been signed by Justice Gary M. Kuch, charging Renert with burglary in the second degree. The warrant has been forwarded to the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office in Richmond Va. Further charges could be filed. Muehl had said previously he would seek menacing charges against Renert. 

Police, who had located Renert by honing in on his cell phone, surrounded him, and he was taken into custody without resisting, Muehl said.

Dressed all in black and with his face masked, the heavily tattooed Renert allegedly strode into Seventh Inning Stretch at 137 Main Street, where he had formerly been employed, and confronted the store’s owner, Vincent Carfagno, in a rear office, police said

Carfagno then threw himself to the floor and with his own handgun fired a shot that missed Renert, Muehl said.

Muehl said it was not immediately known whether Renert will fight extradition to New York.

Cooperstown village police and Otsego County Sheriff’s Office investigators were en route to Virginia today to question the suspect, the district attorney said.

“Our guys are down there, Cooperstown Police Chief Mike Covert said today, “along with the sheriff’s office guys.”

The Cooperstown Police Department, Richmond Police Department, Otsego County Sheriff’s Office, FBI in Albany, state police and district attorney investigators all participated in the investigation and manhunt, Covert said.

“Agency cooperation is what makes everything work,” said Covert.

Covert said that the FBI primarily assisted the investigation by providing technological resources, which helped to track Renert.

“I’m glad it ended without any injuries,” said Covert. “Now we have some closure and people can rest assured that he’s caught and relax a little more for Christmas.”

As of this morning, Cooperstown Police Department and Otsego County Sheriff’s Office investigators had yet to interview Renert in Virginia.

“They’re still waiting to get into the facility,” said Covert.

Law enforcement sources said Renert had a grudge against Carfagno after the latter reported to village police earlier this year that Renert had stolen money from his shop while working there. That alleged crime was still under investigation at the time of Monday’s incident.

Renert owns a house in Richfield Springs with his wife, Rebecca Sweet, according to county records. Sweet recently obtained an order of protection, forbidding Renert from contacting her. State police said in September that Renert violated that order, and he was briefly jailed at the Otsego County Correctional Facility.

Cooperstown police issued a nationwide all points bulletin for Renert shortly after the Monday incident, describing him as armed and extremely dangerous.

Cooperstown Crier Reporter Bera Dunau contributed to this story.