Murdered Gambler Indebted to Philadelphia Casinos Gets Cold Case Arrest

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The family of a Philadelphia man who gambled extensively and who was reportedly indebted to several casinos when he was murdered in January 2013 might soon find justice. That’s after law enforcement brought charges this week against a man believed to have played a role in the slaying.

Police allege that Thomas Delgado (right) participated in the fatal 2013 stabbing of Joseph Canazaro (left). Canazaro reportedly owed gambling debts and money to creditors at the time of his homicide. (Image: Buck’s County District Attorney/Crimewatch)

Police in Pennsylvania allege Thomas Delgado, 50, of Philadelphia, was behind a 2013 home invasion. That led to sexual assault and the homicidal stabbing of 48-year-old Joseph Canazaro. Law enforcement officials say newly discovered forensic evidence linked Delgado to the criminal homicide, rape, robbery, burglary, and kidnapping. The act involved Canazaro, his fiancé, and his 12-year-old son.

It was more than a decade ago that the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office alleges that Canazaro owed millions of dollars to creditors, including several area casinos and criminal gangs.

Bucks County Chief Deputy District Attorney Christopher Rees contends in the criminal complaint that Delgado and another man tied up Canazaro, his fiancé, and his juvenile son and ransacked the home. The two men reportedly stole guns, money, and jewelry.

Before leaving, the men allegedly raped the woman. The woman managed to free herself from the bondages and called 9-1-1. When police responded, they found Canazaro dead in the garage. An autopsy concluded that the manner of death was homicide due to multiple stab wounds.

Cold Case Heats Up

Though it’s been over a decade since the violent incident, Bucks County District Attorney Jen Schorn said police have been working the case diligently.

These detectives have spent more than a decade seeking justice for these victims,” Schorn said. “Like they always do, detectives never relented in the pursuit for justice, and now, we can announce an arrest.”

Delgado’s preliminary hearing is set for February 13. He remains in custody at the Bucks County Correctional Facility after being denied bail.

Police found Canazaro’s truck after the home invasion at the Quakertown Plaza Shopping Center north of the city. DNA obtained from the vehicle was recently linked to Delgado.

Delgado pleaded guilty in 2017 to driving without a license and having an unregistered vehicle, but had no other rap sheet in the commonwealth until this month’s charges.

Bucks County and Hilltown Township Police said Delgado had been forensically identified as one of the two men who broke into the home. The U.S. Marshals Service and Federal Bureau of Investigations assisted state and local law enforcement in bringing the charges against Delgado.

Face Mask Smoking Gun

Police revealed that a face mask discovered in 2019 between the seats of Canazaro’s truck featured DNA that matched the sample taken from the rape kit conducted on Canazaro’s fiancé.

Law enforcement only recently learned that Canazaro and Delgado had been acquaintances in 2011. The discovery was made through cell phone records, which showed the victim calling Delgado at least five times between August and December 2011.

It’s unclear what sort of relationship Delgado and Canazaro maintained. Police also didn’t say whether Canazaro’s casino debts were with legal, regulated casinos or underground gambling hubs and criminal gambling networks that are frequently run by the Mob in Philly.

The Philadelphia region is home to several licensed casinos, including Parx, Rivers, Live!, and Harrah’s.

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