Bruce Sanford, former highway superintendent, was sentenced to five years in jail, suspended after three months in jail and three years’ probation, by Judge John Blawie on Thursday, Jan. 17, after pleading guilty to first-degree larceny. He must also reimburse the town $1,000 for its insurance deductible and serve 250 hours of community service.
“We were disappointed,” said his attorney, Michael Corsello.
Mr. Corsello said he had hoped the judge would take into consideration all the punishments Mr. Sanford has already faced and his 40 years of serving his community as a volunteer firefighter in deciding whether he should be incarcerated.
State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky said after Mr. Sanford pled guilty, he had discussed with the defense and “reached what I felt was an appropriate disposition, given all the factors in the case.”
Mr. Sanford resigned from his position on July 18, 2011. He turned himself in to police on Nov. 23, 2011, after learning about a Superior Court warrant for his arrest. The warrant came after a four-month investigation by the Brookfield Police Department that alleged Mr. Sanford, acting as Redding’s highway department superintendent, billed the town for more than $21,000 to order parts and other items from various vendors for his own personal use over a four-year period.
The investigation was done by Brookfield police as requested by the Redding Police Department because the town was the victim of the larceny.
According to the first search and seizure warrant, dated Aug. 4, 2011, Mr. Sanford was alleged to have authorized funds to restore his 1977 Mack truck and instructed town employees to perform the work at the highway department while on duty.
The second warrant, issued Aug. 11, 2011, alleged Mr. Sanford authorized town funds to maintain and repair a Cub Cadet tractor Mr. Sanford owned.
According to the warrant, a search of billing records shows the town did not pay for the tractor, but the billing was done under the town’s account. The tractor-trailer truck and lawn tractor were later forfeited to the town.
The warrant also states that in 2009, Mr. Sanford sold a 1994 Ford dump truck owned by the town to Knapp Tree of Georgetown. The controller’s office showed no record of the sale nor did it receive any payment, according to the warrant.
In July 2011, police learned that a 1972 International tractor owned by the town and assigned to the highway department was allegedly sold by Mr. Sanford to a town employee for $500. The controller’s office showed no record of the sale, according to the warrant. In the asset disposal form filled out by Mr. Sanford, he listed the proceeds from the sale as $0, the warrant said.
Mr. Sanford forfeited the truck and the tractor back to the town.
Several town officials were present during Mr. Sanford’s sentencing. Ward Mazzucco, a finance board member, read a letter to the court on behalf of the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance.
“Mr. Sanford, who stands before the court today, had been a trusted employee of our town for many years. Unfortunately he betrayed the trust that we placed in him and has now admitted to stealing town property. Many crimes have victims who register complaints with the authorities. This breach of public trust might never have come to light, however, without the thorough investigation conducted by the Redding and Brookfield Police Departments and by the Danbury State’s Attorney. Therefore, we respectfully request Your Honor to impose a sentence that not only reflects the severity of Mr. Sanford’s offense but also serves as a deterrent to others who might be tempted to break the public trust.”
Mr. Sanford was taken from the courthouse in Danbury to the Bridgeport Correctional Center. He is scheduled to be released on April 16.