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[UPDATED] Retired East Haven Police Officer Arrested

Former town official Paul Hongo says the alleged theft of money last March from the police department's evidence locker may have been part of an organized effort to muddy the Capone Administration's reputation.

UPDATE at 8:30 a.m. on Friday

Jr — the town's former deputy director of town affairs under former Mayor April Capone — has said the alleged theft of money last March from the 's evidence locker may have been part of an organized effort to smear the reputation of the Capone Administration, according to a New Have Register report this morning.

In April 2010, then Mayor Capone put former on paid administrative leave following the critical preliminary report on the department's operations from the federal Department of Justice. 

The Justice Department came in to i of racial profiling and abuse of Latino residents and others.

Then, in June 2011, the Board of Police Commissioners voted to — up to and including termination.

Although , after a court injunction was filed by Gallo's attorney at that time , Capone eventually as an impartial hearing officer to rule whether or not the former chief should be removed from his post.

Mayor Joseph Maturo as the town's police chief following his election win over Capone late last fall.

In December, however, the DOJ released their "," which found the department of many Latino residents.

That was followed by individual East Haven Police officers for alleged civil rights violations.

In the wake of these events, and criticism for his role in overseeing the department during the time period some of the alleged incidents occured, in Febuary.

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has been vocal about the federal investigation into the police department both , as well last fall's election to .

ORIGINAL STORY (Thursday at 5 p.m.)

Recently retired Officer Michael D'Amato has been charged with second-degree larceny in relation to the alleged theft of money from the department's evidence locker, according to the Connecticut State Police.

East Haven Police that a "sizeable amount" of money stored in the department's temporary holding area was missing during a routine "administrative process," according to a written statement at that time from Deputy Chief John Mannion.

Once the money was discovered to be missing, Mannion said the department contacted the Connecticut State Police to investigate.

At that time, D'Amato — who is also an East Haven resident — was a detective assigned to the Youth Division.

State Police Investigation

According to Lt. Paul Vance, public information officer for the state police, on March 21, 2011 detectives from State Police Eastern District Major Crime Detectives initiated a criminal investigation into missing evidence/monies from East Haven Police Department's evidence room.

"Detectives proceeded to conduct a lengthy investigation working cooperatively with the Office of the Chief State Attorney in Rocky Hill," Vance stated in a press release this afternoon.

He said that as a result of the investigation, D’Amato was identified as a suspect.

Warrant Issued

Following this investigation, the state police detectives obtained an arrest warrant for D’Amato, which was issued by the Superior Court of New Haven.

On Thursday, May 10, D’Amato turned himself into detectives at Troop E Montville, Vance said.

D’Amato was processed and released on a non-surety bond. And is scheduled to appear at the New Haven Superior Court on May 17.

Vance added that the investigation is ongoing.

Mayor's Statement

Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. released the following statement regarding the allegations against D’Amato:

The East Haven Police Department and our administration continue to deal with the challenges that arise day to day. Although these challenges arose prior to my administration, they present another opportunity for reflection and improvement within our Department and within the Town. The Mayor’s office will continue to work with the Police Department for the residents of the Town of East Haven to ensure the highest quality service of our Police Department.

E. Hynes May 17, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Exactly--NOBODY has seen the warrant and this whole thing sounds like HELLO- SHAKEDOWN, CONSPIRACY-take your pick!!! I can't wait to "see the proof". People should keep their mouths shut unless they know First hand all the DETAILS--those if us that know somethings about what is going on are being quiet and patiently waiting while a man who devoted his career to helping and serving others in the town of East Haven has his name smeared!! People are a lot of things, this retired police officer is NOT a thief and those that TRULY know him know that! So those of you who "believe" you know everything best be very careful!!
Richard Poulton May 17, 2012 at 08:35 PM
There were 2 seperate thefts of money from the PD. The earlier one happened I believe sometime in May or June 2009. Accused was a civilian employee. I don't know if it made the news, it may have been squashed. I don't want to go any further with details, the person paid his "due's" to the court so to speak. A lower amount then this current incident was involved.
Don May 17, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Might I suggest, unless anyone knows Detective D'Amato personally and the REAL facts of the case, that you think twice about passing judgement or persecuting an innocent man! It's very unfortunate, and quite frankly rather humorous, that people believe everything that they read in print or see on the news. Truly unbelievable!
Julie Weisberg May 18, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Richard: Looks like you got the answer to the question of the amount via the warrant for D'Amato's arrest. It was just over $1,300. http://patch.com/A-txm2
Tom May 19, 2012 at 08:44 PM
if gene could get away with threating the towns people and dan with the threat he made , then i guess we all could !!!

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