The owner of a Baltimore County electronics company was arrested last night and charged with hiring a hit man to kill his estranged wife - only the hit man was a member of the state police murder-for-hire unit.
Charged with solicitation to commit first-degree murder, attempted murder and possession of a handgun was Ermelindo M. Piccinini, 37, owner of E & E Electronics, who lives above the business in the 9400 block of Belair Road, Perry Hall.
Maj. Greg Shipley, a state police spokesman, said that in mid-May, Baltimore County police received a tip that a man was willing to pay $10,000 to have his estranged wife killed. Shipley said county police notified the specialized unit, and a meeting between the husband and the supposed hit man was arranged.
About 8 last night, the "hit man" met the suspect in his van at Perry Hall Shopping Center on Belair Road near Joppa Road. Police said the conversation included details about how the killing should take place and that the man gave the undercover officer a $1,000 down payment.
Shipley said the remaining $9,000 was to have been paid when the woman was killed. Shipley identified the woman as Cynthia Piccinini, 37, of Harford County. Shipley said the couple has four children.
At 8:30 p.m., a signal was given and state police, who kept the van under visual surveillance, arrested Mr. Piccinini without incident. Recovered in the vehicle was a loaded 9 mm semiautomatic handgun.
Shipley said Piccinini was processed at the Golden Ring Barracks and was to appear last night or early today at a bail hearing before a Baltimore County District Court commissioner.