When cash was missing from the register for the second time at Embody Fitness Gourmet in the Noroton Heights Shopping Center, management reviewed video surveillance records and found someone sneaking into the store overnight, police said.
That person and another man, both from Stamford, have been arrested and charged with burglary and larceny on several occasions in January and February, stealing a somewhere between $1,500 and $1,600, in total, police said.
Gillen Bryan, owner of Embody, said he recognized the employees from the video recordings. He said he was surprised to find these two former employees taking money.
“I didn’t think they would burglarize,” he said. “They knew I had cameras. The whole thing doesn’t make any sense.”
One of the employees, he said, “was a very good worker. Very reliable. The other was typical — he was hot and cold.”
“I wish I could say I feel great about this [the arrests], but I’m saddened,” he said. “There’s no satisfaction. No sense of closure.”
Police described what happened with this account, including accusations not proven in court. In addition to the account from Darien police, this article relies on information reported by the New Canaan Advertiser, relying on an announcement from New Canaan police. The New Canaan information is in italics:
On the mornings of Feb. 25 and 26, management of the store at 380 Heights Road found the cash count for the cash register was off from the previous evening. Since January, money had been found to be missing from the cash drawer.
Initially, managers thought employee error was probably the cause. After it happened again for two days in a row, management looked at the surveillance video records.
They found a person entering the store with a key and taking money from the cash drawer at about 7:30 p.m., after the store had closed. Management called police that day, Feb. 26.
Money was missing in the Embody store in New Canaan, as well. Detectives from both Darien and New Canaan departments “were able to develop two suspects” in the case, although the Darien police news release about the incident didn’t say how.
Samuel Marrero, 24, and Osvaldo Acuna, 20, are both former employees of Embody and are Stamford residents. Marrero is accused in connection with three of the burglaries in Darien; Acuna, with five.
In the Darien and New Canaan burglaries, the suspects used a key to get into the store.
New Canaan police said that at about 3:43 a.m. on March 3, video surveillance camera showed Marrero inside the business stealing about $100. Marrero was caught on video burglarizing the store again on March 11, when about $80 was taken.
At about about 2:50 a.m. on March 25, police saw Marrero in the area of the New Canaan Embody Fitness Gourmet, which is on Forrest Street, downtown. Police detained him and questioned him. Marrero confessed to the burglaries.
Darien police and New Canaan police each applied for and received arrest warrants for each man.
On Tuesday, April 24, Marrero, of Highview Avenue in Stamford, turned himself in to Darien police. He was charged with two counts each of third-degree burglary, sixth-degree larceny from a building and conspiracy to commit third-degree burglary.
He was held on $75,000 bond and was taken to state Superior Court in Stamford the same day. His bond was reduced to $10,000, which was posted, according to the Connecticut Judicial Branch website, which said he is next due in court on May 21
On Thursday, Marrero turned himself in to New Canaan police at 6 a.m. He was charged with two counts of third-degree burglary and held on a $40,000 bond before being transported to state Superior Court in Norwalk.
There, his bond was reduced to a promise to appear; his next court date is on May 31, according to the Judicial Branch website. At some point, a judge could decide to move both cases to the same court.
Acuna, who lives on Hope Street in Stamford, turned himself in to Darien police on Friday, April 27. He faces five counts of third-degree burglary and four counts of sixth-degree larceny from a building, along with conspiracy to commit third-degree burglary. His bond was the same as Marrero’s, and he was taken to state Superior Court in Stamford on Friday.