Warwick man charged with theft of RIDOT backhoe


An indictment, information, or complaint is merely an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Warwick man has been charged in Providence County Superior Court with stealing a backhoe belonging to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) in January 2023.

On May 17, 2023, the Office of the Attorney General charged Peter Dambruoso (age 59) by way of criminal information, with one count of possession of a stolen vehicle and one count of driving without a valid license.


As alleged in the criminal information, the RISP initiated an investigation into the theft of a 1998 John Deer backhoe belonging to RIDOT from a facility in Johnson sometime on January 3, 2023.


It is alleged that around 11:30 p.m. on January 4, 2023, a Providence Department of Public Works (DPW) employee witnessed the defendant operating a John Deer backhoe with State of Rhode Island plates in the back of a DPW building on Ernest Street in Providence. The witness confronted the defendant, asking him why he was operating a backhoe late at night, to which the defendant responded that he was a state employee.


The defendant then drove away in the backhoe and the witness followed him in a public works vehicle. The witness contacted the Providence Police while following the defendant, and shortly after, officers conducted a traffic stop of the backhoe and took the defendant into custody before transferring him into the custody of the RISP.


As alleged, after RISP transported the defendant to the State Police Barracks, the defendant agreed to provide a formal statement. In the statement, he described stealing the backhoe from a RIDOT facility in Johnston and subsequently driving it to the Rhode Island State House and parking it there for a couple of days before moving it again to the DPW building where he was confronted by the witness.


The defendant is scheduled for a pre-arraignment conference on August 10, 2023, in Providence County Superior Court.