Yvonne O’Kane’s dog barked frantically at 1 a.m. last month. She woke up, looked in the back of her Old Hill area home for deer, then took him outside to do his duty.
A few hours later, her husband went outside. Yvonne’s Mercedes convertible was gone.
The police arrived within 3 minutes. A great officer, Rachel Baron — “lovely, compassionate and professional” — took the information. She described the work of crime gangs in Waterbury and Newark.
Because Yvonne’s checkbook and credit cards had been in the car, the officer told her to call her bank and card companies to freeze her accounts.
That morning, Yvonne headed to the police station to provide more information. Detective Phil Restieri was “awesome,” she says.
Detective Phil Restieri
He already had information: Her car had crossed the George Washington Bridge at 4 a.m. Someone had tried to use her credit card at Starbucks and McDonald’s in Newark. He gave her more advice on how to handle her lost items, and deal with her insurance company.
Phil told her that her car might be headed for a container ship. He was working with law enforcement contacts on the docks. “Everyone was already alerted,” Yvonne says.
Phil was calm, and reassuring. “His diligence and confidence gave me confidence,” Yvonne says.
Whenever she checked in, he had time for her. He — and the department — “really stayed on the case,” she adds. “No one ever made me feel like an idiot.”
After 3 weeks, Phil called. Yvonne’s car had been found, on the side of a Newark street.
He explained that stolen cars are often left on roadsides — or moved from garage to garage — until an order comes in from operatives for that particular make or model.
But Phil’s work was not done. He told Yvonne that he’d already arranged to have her vehicle towed to a safe place.
Yvonne got Westport Center Services to bring the car back from New Jersey. They delivered it to a service center in Bridgeport.
Yvonne was hesitant to go there at night. She worried there might be a weapon in the car. So — long after his shift was over — Phil met her in Bridgeport.
“It was awesome to have a police officer there,” Yvonne says. “He couldn’t have been nicer. And he said if I needed anything else, to just call.”
Phil Restieri — and all his colleagues at the Westport Police Department — are Yvonne O’Kane’s Unsung Heroes.
But here’s the thing: This is the kind of thing they do all day, every day. We don’t hear about stories like this, unless they impact us. Or unless someone like Yvonne tells us.
So: If you’ve got a Westport Police Unsung Heroes story to share, click “Comments” below.
(Want to nominate your own Unsung Hero? Email firstname.lastname@example.org)