DANVERS — A jewel thief with convictions all over the country has been arrested again.
Robert Petrino, 60, of South Boston, was arrested as a fugitive from justice Thursday by state police detectives assigned to the Essex District Attorney's office.
He's wanted in Maricopa County, Arizona, for the theft of $55,000 worth of jewelry from a Phoenix business last June — while he was on probation for stealing a diamond ring from a Westerly, Rhode Island, jewelry store.
But his record doesn't start there. State police Trooper Michael Murphy detailed Petrino's long history of similar crimes in an affidavit filed in support of an arrest warrant on Wednesday. Petrino was arrested in South Boston and booked at the Danvers barracks before his appearance in court Thursday afternoon.
That record includes a 2006 suspended sentence for the theft of $23,000 in jewelry in Peabody, and convictions for larceny and other crimes around eastern Massachusetts.
He's also been charged in Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, Minnesota, Kansas, and in the federal court in New York for similar crimes.
Petrino typically poses as a customer interested in a piece of jewelry, then distracts the clerk long enough to grab something and run.
Murphy noted in court papers that Petrino appeared to wear the same madras shorts during both the Rhode Island and the Arizona thefts. In court Thursday, he was wearing a green and blue horizontally-striped sweater. Surveillance images from some of his prior cases show him in tasseled loafers and button-down dress shirts.
Prosecutor Philip Mallard told a judge Thursday that Arizona authorities intend to send someone to pick up Petrino, who agreed to waive extradition during a brief hearing.
Judge Holly Broadbent ordered Petrino held without bail at Middleton Jail pending that.
Petrino will also have to face a judge in Suffolk Superior Court in the near future; he was being supervised by a probation officer in that court for the Rhode Island conviction and is now facing a charge of violating his probation.
A status hearing is scheduled for March 28.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.