Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio Fanboy/Neo-Nazi "Vito Lombardi" is Thomas Vito Coletto, Alleged Columbine Copycat (w/Update)

I've discovered the true identity of the neo-Nazi who posed for a pic with Sheriff Joe Arpaio on May 2, which he then posted on Stormfront.org. His name is Thomas Vito Coletto, birth date 8/23/1989. And he has a record. Specifically, He was arrested back in 2007 and later indicted by a grand jury for his role in an alleged threat to shut down Scottsdale's Desert Mountain High School, where he was a senior at the time.

According to court records, Coletto ultimately pleaded guilty to criminal damage, received two years probation and was made to pay a hefty fine. He was one of five students involved in the matter. A report from Channel 5 KPHO at the time talks of two burglaries at Desert Mountain, one of which involved chemicals taken from the school science lab.

"Officers served search warrants at the homes of two of the suspects," says the KPHO report, "and they said they found chemicals and what appeared to be explosive-making materials. Police said the chemicals included ammonium nitrate, which was used to make the explosives used in the Oklahoma City bombing."

The KPHO report also quotes investigators as saying that "they believe the teenagers were all plotting to to start powerful explosive chemical fires using materials stolen from the high school's science lab, and there's evidence they were planning to execute their scheme on Friday [April 20] on the Columbine anniversary."

In 2007, there were a rash of these types of cases, referred to as "Columbine copycats." East Valley Tribune reporter Gary Grado did a follow-up on the 2007 incidents a year later. Grado states that the five suspects, including Coletto, "were charged in adult court with burglary and criminal damage for an April 7, 2007 break-in" where the chemicals were taken.

Grado's article also says, "Police had found chemicals stolen in the burglary had been mixed into explosives and set off at a Scottsdale elementary school."

And one of these perps is the guy Sheriff Joe gave a photo-op to? As well as intelligence on how far away the May 2 marchers were from where Coletto and other neo-Nazis were posted?

How did I find out about Coletto's real name? Well, someone put me on to his YouTube account, "Verscide's Thoughts," where Coletto has videos of himself spouting off about immigration, affirmative action, and actor Jamie Foxx. There are also videos of a Grand Theft Auto compilation, showing people getting beat down and some guy jumping off a building, and some racist "spoofs" -- one of a game show making fun of blacks, another of a Mexican tourism ad, aimed at Mexican border crossers.

But the most odd is titled "the WW2 project" and features a re-enactment of his grandfather Sgt. Vito F. Coletto's wartime experiences clearing minefields in Europe during the fight against fascism there. The "re-enactment" consists of Coletto the younger playing with toy soldiers, and blowing them up with what look like firecrackers and self-made incindiary devices. At the end, the video mentions that Coletto's grandfather served under General George Patton during WWII, and passed away in 1999. (Note: This video was removed following my conversation with Coletto below.)  

I called "Vito" up, and he admitted to me that he is indeed Thomas Coletto, the same guy arrested in 2007. Concerning the 2007 incident, he claimed that the group was just engaged in high-school hijinks that were misinterpreted by authorities in the paranoia over the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings. He denied that he was involved in any Columbine copycat threat.

"We just threw some eggs in the classroom and took chemicals to make fireworks out in the desert," said Coletto. "There was never any threat, or anything posed like that. It was just bad timing...It was just the hype of the time."

I also asked Coletto how he could rationalize being a neo-Nazi, when his grandfather risked his life battling the Nazis during WWII.

"I think that war was just a disgrace," he told me. "It was just Europeans killing Europeans. I think it was a pointless war, and a lot of people died for no good reason."

But certainly Coletto's grandfather, if he were alive, would be angered by his grandsons' affiliation with the National Socialist Movement, I wondered aloud.

"Because of all the media brainwashing, I'm sure he would at first," Coletto explained. "But if I had a chance to sit down and talk to him and explain to him the belief system, and explain to him the media lies and try to point that out to him, I don't think he would be upset at all."

One-on-one, Coletto comes across as intelligent and deferential, but it's hard to reconcile that young man with the guy sieg heil-ing marchers at the Walk for Respect on May 2, the one screaming "murderers," "rapists," and "scum" at the mostly Hispanic crowd, as he stomped on a Mexican flag. Currently, he says he is committed to his "movement." I can only hope that he will someday re-evaluate this commitment and come to loathe the activities he is involved in now. 

Update: Cotello, aka "Vito," below contends that, "I was not charged with theft..." However, court documents reveal that he was charged with "burglary in the third degree" on January 10, 2008, as well as "aggravated criminal damage." You can read the indictment for yourself, here.

As part of a plea agreement Cotello signed on 4/15/08, he pleaded guilty to criminal damage, and the burglary charge was dropped. You can read the plea deal in its entirety,here.

Update 2: As IBMMuseum has noted below, Coletto has jerked down his videos and closed his YouTube channels since this report's filing. So much for the "master race." 

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons