State Trooper Charged With Stealing $3,700 From Dying Victim in Connecticut

Wednesday, 05 Dec 2012 12:03 PM

By Michael Mullins

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A Connecticut state trooper has been charged with stealing $3,700 in cash from a dying man following a September highway accident in Bridgeport.

Trooper Aaron "AJ" Huntsman, 43, an 18-year veteran, will be arraigned next week on two counts of third-degree larceny, interfering with police, and tampering with evidence.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Huntsman was the first trooper on the scene of the accident and was observed, via his cruiser’s dashboard video camera, reaching into a pool of blood to pocket a gold chain belonging to 49-year-old John Scalesse, who lay unconscious only a few feet away.

After Scalesse was moved into the back of an ambulance, EMT’s recovered a large amount of cash in his pocket. Not knowing if Scalesse would survive the accident, the EMTs wanted to give the money to Trooper Mark DiCocco, who arrived on the scene after Huntsman, to hold for the victim’s family. DiCocco refused because Scalesse was still clinging to life. However, Huntsman stepped in, saying, “I'll take it, I'll take it as evidence,” according to the affidavit.

Hunstman later told Scalesse’s family that he was not aware of any money being recovered from the victim, and if there was any cash on him, it would most likely have gone with the victim to the hospital, according to the affidavit.

A wad of cash was later found by state police underneath the front seat of Huntsman's cruiser.

Though DiCocco initially backed up Hunstman when questioned by other troopers about the money, the junior trooper eventually changed his story, claiming he didn’t want to dispute the word of a veteran trooper. DiCocco was not charged for his initial cover-up.

“The more we think about it, the more upset we get,” said Scalesse's father, John Scalesse Sr. “It's just shocking that a police officer with 18 years would so something like this,”

State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance shared a similar sentiment acknowledging Huntsman's alleged actions were a black eye for the department according to Ctpost.com.

Huntsman, who is also the vice president of the state police union, was released on $5,000 bail and will be arraigned Dec. 10.

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