A caption error about Sopranos‘ actor Lillo Brancato being released from prison created a factual contradiction in the print version of the New York Post‘s news story yesterday.
The Post story reported that Brancato’s crime was “burglary in 2005” and his final conviction was “attempted burglary in 2008.”
However, the Post caption said that Brancato, who portrayed Matthew Belivacqua on The Sopranos, “took part in a robbery,” a much more serious offense than burglary.
We called and emailed the NYPD, Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information (DCPI) to fact check that Brancato was originally arrested for “burglary” (and murder of an off-duty cop), not robbery. We also asked to confirm that robbery is a more severe charge.
Police Officer Sophia Mason told iMediaEthics by phone that “a lot of people confuse robbery and burglary.”
“Robbery is the use of force,” Mason explained. “Your house wasn’t robbed You were burglarized,” she continued, “Removing property [alone] is not a robbery, even if you were there, and threatened.”
“You need to have been physically harmed [forced] for it to be a robbery,” she said.
We are writing to the New York Post to ask for a correction.
UPDATE: 4:48PM EST: Added additional information from NYPD PO.