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Westport Police Go Nationwide in Search for Killer

WESTPORT, Conn. – The suspect wanted in the Dec. 8 murder of longtime Westport resident and businessman Yekutiel Zeevi is still at large. That's why Westport police are taking their search nationwide with "America's Most Wanted," a TV show that helps law enforcement agencies track down wanted persons, Capt. Sam Arciola said.

"We reached out to 'America's Most Wanted' so we can reach a much broader audience with the hope that someone who views the show will have information for us to follow up on, or ID the individual," Arciola said.

Nearly a month into the investigation, Arciola said the department is as dedicated to the case as it was on Day 1. Detectives, he said, have been working closely with police departments in other states, looking into similar crimes and following up with those. The department is also working with federal agencies, he said.

Zeevi, 65, was fatally shot during a diamond robbery at his Post Road East business, Y.Z. Jewelry Manufacturing. Ronen Konfino, a New York City associate of Zeevi's, was also shot. Konfino, 48, was hospitalized for about a week before he was released.

Police said the suspect made an appointment to meet with Zeevi the day before the shooting after seeing one of Zeevi's weekly ads about buying/selling diamonds. He had another appointment on the night of the crime.

The Monday before the shooting, police said the suspect was spotted in a jewelry store in Philadelphia . He was also spotted in several jewelry stores in lower Fairfield County about a week before the murder.

Arciola stressed that the department reaching out to "America's Most Wanted" isn't a sign that it has given up on the investigation.

"We're considering the possibility that the suspect is in another state, and this gives us a nationwide platform to work from," he said. "If our media broadcasts are only reaching people in this area, that doesn't help us if he's in California or Arizona, for example."

Also, by teaming with the TV show, Arciola said it keeps the case fresh in people's minds. The department, he said, isn't receiving phone calls and tips from the public as it initially had. "We want to keep information about the suspect in the forefront," he said.

The episode about Zeevi's murder was already taped and is expected to air next Friday or the following Friday, Arciola said. It will feature Westport Detective Philip Restieri.

Westport detectives will follow up on any information received as a result of the show, Arciola said. "America's Most Wanted" airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on Lifetime. According to the show's website , 1,166 fugitives have been captured since the show's inception in 1988.

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