Friday, August 17, 2007

Just taking it for a spin, boss

"I hired him on Friday, I guess he won't be coming back to work," commented Charles Valentino, chairman of the Connecticut Marshall's Board.

It seems that earlier this week, Gabriel Luna, 38, a mechanic at Valentino's East Main St, Bridgeport CT auto repair shop did a little more than repairs. Luna had been assigned to do repair work to Luna's official Crown Victoria when it was reported stolen from the auto shop.

Police Lt James Viadero stated that on Sunday, August 12 2007, a local resident complained to police about being robbed. The resident said that he was driving on Brooks St when he heard the sound of a siren and then saw a car with flashing emergency lights pull up behind him. The driver of the car identified himself as a State Police Trooper and demanded the resident's driver identification. The "trooper" then took $900 from the man's wallet, told him he didn't belong in this country and then drove off.

Police Detectives Robert Winkler and Dennis Martinez had identified the car driven by the "trooper" as Luna's Crown Victoria. They were at the auto shop investigating the stolen car complaint when the car reappeared at the repair shop. The detectives confronted Luna, who quickly confessed that he had been drinking and taken the car out for a joyride. That ride he said did include activating the car's lights and siren but he evidently forgot about the cash bonus he had gotten himself.

What Luna did get though, was being charged with third-degree robbery and impersonating a police officer. He was held on $20,000 bond pending arraignment on September 11 in Superior Court. Valentino, the top state marshall, was in Kentucky attending the Fraternal Order of Police convention and from his comment, I am betting that he isn't rushing home to bail his now "former" employee out of jail.

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