Person of interest in Pennsylvania missing men case arrested again

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Person of interest in Bucks County missing men case arrested again. Walter Perez reports during Action News at 4 p.m. on July 12, 2017.

Cosmo DiNardo, the man named as a person of interest in the disappearance of four men in Bucks County, and who was previously arrested on an unrelated offense, has now been arrested and charged with a crime more closely tied to the investigation.

DiNardo, 20, has been charged with the theft of a 1996 Nissan Maxima belonging to one of the missing men, 21-year-old Thomas Meo of Plumstead.

DiNardo had a court hearing late Wednesday afternoon and bail was set at $5 million cash.

Booking photo of Cosmo DiNardo

Booking photo of Cosmo DiNardo.



According to Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub, Meo's girlfriend told investigators he went missing July 7. On July 8, Meo's family reported him missing to authorities.

On July 9, Weintraub said, DiNardo allegedly tried to sell Meo's Nissan to a friend for $500. Weintraub said investigators know who that friend is, but they are withholding his identity "for potential safety."

The vehicle was later found at a property belonging to DiNardo's family on Aquetong Road in Solebury Township.

The title for the vehicle was unsigned, Weintraub said, indicating there was no legal exchange of ownership.

VIDEO: D.A. Weintraub update on Wednesday afternoon
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DA announces arrest of Cosmo DiNardo on July 12, 2017.



Investigators also allegedly found a diabetic kit inside the car. Meo is diabetic, Weintraub said, and is known to carry that "life-saving" kit with him.

DiNardo is charged with theft and receiving stolen property. DiNardo is considered a flight risk, the D.A. said.

"I don't know it, but it's possible that this charge will be enveloped in a larger set of circumstances," Weintraub said. "I don't want to comment on that prematurely, though."

DiNardo was arrested on Monday after charges were re-filed for a weapons offense in February. He was freed on Tuesday evening after posting 10% of $1 million bail.

VIDEO: Chopper 6 over search scene on Wednesday
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Chopper 6 HD over search for missing men. See raw video from July 12, 2017.



Weintraub also noted during the news conference that the massive search at the nearby farmland in Solebury Township, which is also owned by the DiNardo family, is intensifying.

"We are going to find something for sure, I have no doubt about that," he said. "I can't really confirm more."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. PREVIOUS STORY BELOW

The Bucks County district attorney said several pieces of evidence have been recovered amid the search for four missing men.

D.A. Matthew Weintraub said during a news conference on Wednesday morning that the evidence was recovered at the farmland in Solebury Township that has been the focus of a massive search this week.

"We have recovered several important pieces of evidence at this site that we're currently working very hard on - with the majority of our manpower - and at other locations," Weintraub said.

Weintraub said that no human remains have been found.

VIDEO: D.A. Weintraub update on Wednesday morning

Bucks County DA gives update on missing men on the morning of July 12, 2017.



When asked if the evidence leads him to believe the remains of the four men were on the property, Weintraub simply said investigators are going to "continue in the direction that we're going."

"This is just really, really rough on everybody involved because of the heat, the magnitude, the scope, and the stakes are incredibly high... life and death," Weintraub said.

The search for the four missing men stretched into its fourth day on Wednesday.

Video from Chopper 6 showed a search area with sections dug up by heavy equipment. Tents covered portions of the scene. Sources tell ABC News that a ping from one of the missing men's cellphones led investigators to the property.

A person of interest in this case, 20-year-old Cosmo DiNardo, posted 10% of $1 million bail on Tuesday evening after his arrest the day before on unrelated charges.

PHOTO: Cosmo DiNardo

Booking photo of Cosmo DiNardo.



He was charged with a firearms possession offense from February.

It is not known where DiNardo went after being released from the Bucks County jail, as he did not return to his family's home in Bensalem.

VIDEO: Person of interest posts bail
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'Person of interest' released on bail. Dann Cuellar reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on July 11, 2017.



During a news conference on Tuesday, Weintraub stressed that DiNardo is not being called a suspect at this time.

"Sometimes the chasm between a person of interest, and being a person that is actually accused or arrested, and certainly convicted of a crime, is so wide that we never cross it," Weintraub said.

VIDEO: D.A. Weintraub update on Tuesday
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News conference with DA Matthew Weintraub. Watch raw video from the morning of July 11, 2017.



According to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by Action News, DiNardo was accused of possessing a shotgun and ammunition despite a history of mental illness that includes an involuntary commitment.

The charge had been dropped, but was refiled Monday. Weintraub said bail was set high over concerns that DiNardo might be a flight risk.

DiNardo was taken into custody at the Bensalem home in the unit block of Wayland Circle. It was one of the multiple locations being searched by authorities on Monday.

His family also owns a property on Aquetong Road that was searched on Sunday, and a farm on Lower York Road near Route 202 in Solebury Township where an active search continues.

RELATED: Friends, neighbors seek answers in Bucks Co. missing men case
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'Person of interest' released on bail. Dann Cuellar reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on July 11, 2017.



Weintraub said the search at the DiNardo property is massive and involves major construction equipment, fine sifting equipment and cadaver dogs.
"We are still gradually sifting through the property," Weintraub said. "It's 90-some acres and we're going through it with the equivalent of a fine-tooth comb. It's going to take us a very long time."

The four missing men are identified as Mark Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg; Tom Meo, 21, of Plumstead; Dean Finocchiaro, 19, of Middletown Twp.; and Jimi Tar Patrick, 19, of Newtown.

PHOTO: Identities of missing men



Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said he believes foul play is involved.

"I sure believe there is," he said during a news conference on Monday afternoon.

The FBI has joined the investigation. Weintraub said the leads in this case are "very hot."

Chopper 6 VIDEO: Search scene in Solebury Twp. on July 11
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Search resumes for missing men in Bucks Co. See raw video from Chopper 6 on July 11, 2017.


"We've been treating this from the outset as a criminal investigation, and nothing has deterred that to this point," Weintraub said.

But when asked why he believes foul play was involved, he said it was due to "information that I know that I can't share."

VIDEO: D.A. Weintraub update on Monday afternoon
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Watch D.A. Matt Weintraub discuss the search for four local men last seen in the greater Bucks County area at 3:30 p.m. on July 10, 2017.


Sturgis, Meo and Finocchiaro were last seen on Friday, July 7. Patrick was last seen on Wednesday, July 5.

Weintraub said it is believed all four men know each other, but investigators are working to confirm that information.

Weintraub said while "tons" of tips have come in, investigators continue their plea to the public for more information.

"What we're looking for is information that connects these four men together, that may connect them to the property we're searching, connect them to Cosmo DiNardo, perhaps," he said. "I can't say if there is that type of information, but if there is, I beg of you to please give it to us and let us run it down."

"Hope and pray for the best"

People who know the four missing men say all they can do now is hope for the best.

Jennifer Albrecht is a bartender at the Candlewyck in Doylestown, where Jimi Patrick works as a beer-runner.

She says Jimi is one of the nice guys.

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Man linked to 4 missing men case called 'person of interest'. Walter Perez reports during Action News at 4pm on July 11, 2017.



"He was on the shyer side, but you would get a smile out of him, a little conversation," she said.

Albrecht says the irony is how this shy, soft-spoken young man is now at the center of most conversations at the bar.

"Everybody's talking about it. Everybody just wants to find all four of the men that are missing," Albrecht said. "Hope and pray for the best. For all of them."

Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators at 215-297-8201.

Report a typo to the ABC13 staff


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