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30-year hunt for Nassau escapee spurs $10,000 reward

Joseph Quartieri?s mug shot from 1976.

Joseph Quartieri?s mug shot from 1976. Photo Credit: Handout

Federal marshals are hoping a $10,000 reward will do what years of checking tips in places as far apart as England and the Queens funeral of mob boss John Gotti has failed to do: help them solve one of Long Island's oldest crime mysteries.

The reward was offered Thursday by the U.S. Marshal's Service to locate and arrest Joseph Quartieri on the 30th anniversary of his escape from the Nassau County jail, according to Eugene Corcoran, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of New York.

Quartieri, 32 at the time of his escape, an organized-crime connected jewel thief, was in the jail awaiting trial on charges of robbing an Oceanside jewelry store and attempting to murder a Nassau County police officer. He was last seen the day of his escape on March 4, 1980, robbing a Dunkin' Donuts in Smithtown, officials say.

The $10,000 reward was the marshal's New York-New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force's latest tactic in the search for Quartieri, Corcoran said.

Checking out surveillance photos of the crowd at the 2002 funeral of Gambino family leader Gotti was only one of the hundreds of tips that have been followed.

Quartieri had attended the funeral, according to the tip. One person seen in the pictures resembled an older version of the escaped prisoner. That person was located but turned out not to be Quartieri, officials said.

Other tips, many coming because of coverage on the television show, "America's Most Wanted," involved marshals questioning people in Carlsbad, Calif., Prescott and Sun City Arizona, and Tampa, Fla., according to Deputy U.S. Marshal Roy Wright, was has been working on the case for the past 3½ years.

Abroad, foreign police agencies have been asked to question people who were said to be Quartieri or have information about him in Canada, England, Italy, Mexico, and several countries in Central and South America, according to officials.

Summing up the marshals continuing search for Quartieri, Wright said:, "We never stop looking."

Anyone with information on Quartieri's whereabouts is asked to either call the fugitive task force at 877-Wanted2 or visit www.usmswanted.com. (Click here to connect.)

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