COLD SPRING, N.Y. (CBS 2/WCBS 880) — A bizarre coincidence has one upstate man trying to convince his neighbors he’s not an accused child molester.
With the same age, same family status, and same name, Robert Viggiano has become a shocked victim of mistaken identity in Putnam County, reports CBS 2’s Lou Young.
“We’re just trying to get the word out that it’s a different Robert Viggiano, that’s all,” he said.
Robert L. Viggiano has been on the phone for two days, trying to convince people that he’s not Robert S. Viggiano, who was arrested for allegedly soliciting sex with a 10-year-old girl in Yonkers this week.
The two Robert Viggianos are not related and have never met, even though they live just ten miles apart and share a number of remarkable similarities.
“We’re both in Cold Spring, we both have the same exact hame, we’re both married with two kids, we’re both contractors,” Robert L. Viggiano said. “It’s beyond weird.”
Viggiano told WCBS 880’s Catherine Cioffi the coincidence has turned his life into a living hell.
Robert L. Viggiano tells WCBS 880’s Catherine Cioffi about the sleepless nights and constant phone calls
“I just really want to clear it up and just let it be known that that’s not me, I’m not that guy. I’m Robert L. Viggiano, the plumber, and I haven’t done anything wrong,” he said.
The enormity of it all struck him in Briarcliff, as he was doing plumbing work at a pediatric dentists’ office. The horror descended, as stuffed animals looked on.
“Robert’s name came on the radio,” dentist Dr. David Weiss said. “I looked at him and I said, ‘what,’ and he said, ‘it’s not me,’ vehemently denied that it was him.”
“I don’t know what they thought. It didn’t sound good, and they didn’t look happy,” Viggiano said. “It actually made me feel guilty.”
At one point, Viggiano said, reporters even came to his neighborhood, knocking on neighbors’ doors to let them know who lives on the block. They literally brought the case of mistaken identity to his very doorstep.
“Right away we were horrified and shocked,” neighbor Sharon DiPalo said. “It was scary – we know him.”
It is such a horrible misunderstanding that the other Robert Viggiano’s wife even called to apologize for the mix-up. Robert L. Viggiano said that’s helped put things in perspective.
“For his family, my heart goes out to them,” he said. “I’m getting not even a fraction of what they’re going through, and it’s hell.”
Robert S. Viggiano, the accused suspect, is being held without bail at Westchester County Jail.