SALT LAKE CITY – Choking back tears, his voice quavering, Elizabeth Smart's father begged his former handyman Friday to tell the police anything he knows about the abduction of his 14-year-old daughter.
Ed Smart urged Richard Albert Ricci to "show the kindness, go the extra mile" and "clear himself with the police."
"If he has any feeling, I would ask him to come forward, to clear himself. The police have said they would clear him right off the list of suspects if he would answer the questions," Smart said about Ricci.
Smart made his public appeal to Ricci one day after the 48-year-old career criminal, who police say is the leading potential suspect in Elizabeth's disappearance, was charged with theft and burglary. If convicted, the charges would be sufficient to put him behind bars for the rest of his life.
"I don't want to believe that Richard was involved," Smart said.
But he said Ricci, who worked for him as a handyman last year, had lied to him twice about taking items from his home.
"Finding he did take these items ... can't help but make me feel that there is a possibility that Richard is involved," Smart said.
He urged Ricci to "show the kindness, go the extra mile that I felt that I had gone with him. Our family has gone through hell and I would like an end to this."
Smart's tone on Friday was markedly different from previous news conferences. He appeared angry about Ricci's apparent lies and his refusal to answer some police questions.
Ricci was charged Thursday with one count of theft for allegedly stealing $3,500 worth of items from the Smarts' home on June 6, 2001. A search of Ricci's home on June 19, turned up jewelry, a perfume bottle and a wine glass filled with sea shells that belonged to the Smarts, according to charging documents.
In addition, he is charged with one count of burglary and another count of theft for allegedly taking items from a home in the Smarts' wealthy neighborhood in April 2001. Jewelry and about $300 in cash were taken during the night burglary from a bedroom as a resident slept in the same room, according to the charges.
Ricci, who worked as a handyman in both homes, admitted to the crimes, charging documents said.
But Ricci's attorney, David K. Smith, said the charging documents do not necessarily reflect accurately what Ricci told the police.
Authorities stressed on Thursday that while Ricci remains a potential suspect in Elizabeth Smart's abduction, the criminal charges against him are unrelated to the incident.
The teen was apparently kidnapped from her bedroom at gunpoint in the early morning of June 5.
Ricci, who is in prison on unrelated parole violations, will make his initial court appearance Wednesday morning.