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Ret. East Haven Detective Charged with Stealing from Evidence Locker

Shore Publishing, The Courier, The Day Publishing Company,
BYLINE: Courier Staff
Link to Article

East Haven, CT

Retired East Haven Police detective Michael D'Amato was profiled by the Courier in 2006 for his extensive work with the town's youth. He was charged today with stealing cash from the department's evidence locker. Photo by Lauren DeFilippo/The Courier

Retired East Haven Police detective and youth officer Michael D'Amato has been charged with second-degree larceny (theft of more than $10,000) following a state police criminal investigation into missing evidence/monies from evidence room of the East Haven Police Department.

As a result of the investigation, which began on March 21, 2011, detectives identified D'Amato as a suspect in this incident. At the time of the theft, D'Amato was employed by the East Haven Police Department as a detective assigned to the Youth Division. Following this investigation, State Police Eastern District Major Crime detectives obtained an arrest warrant for D'Amato issued by the Superior Court of New Haven.

D'Amato, an East Haven resident, turned himself in this afternoon at Troop E in Montville. He was processed and released on a non-surety bond and is scheduled to appear at the New Haven Superior Court GA 23 on Thursday, May 17. The investigation is ongoing.

Before his December 2011 retirement, D'Amato had been a member of the East Haven Police Department for 25 years. Active in the Drug Awareness Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program, he was promoted to the youth detective position in 2001 and was credited with investigating hundreds of child sexual and physical abuse cases in which more than 100 arrests were made against adult offenders. He oversaw the town's sex offender registry and, in 2008, was appointed as chairperson of the East Haven Youth Services Commission.

East Haven's police department has faced a tumultuous year, with four officers arrested for terrorizing the town's Latino population, its former police chief Leonard Gallo retiring shortly after he was named co-conspirator in the investigation that led to the officers' arrests, and the resulting international headlines made when Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr., responded to the controversy through his now-infamous "taco" comment.

Maturo responded to the Amato arrest in an official statement: "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."

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