"Then A Cop Came From Behind Him, Then One From The Front yard, Guns Drawn, And Forced Him To The Ground"

Larceny suspect apprehended; Second suspect still at large: Police search for hours on foot, by boat, by patrol car, and with K-9 Paco; "It was amazing to witness"; With pictures, videos from Tucker O'Brien, who witnessed arrest while book shopping.


Madison police apprehended a larceny suspect Friday afternoon several hours after he fled from Stop & Shop after being confronted by security personnel at the store. Another suspect, a woman, is still at large.

One suspect initially eluded police by fleeing through the downtown area packed with shoppers, ducking behind the firehouse and plunging into Tuxis Pond and swimming to the other side. A police officer and another man, who appeared to be a firefigher, launched a row boat and took chase just as that suspect reached the other side of the pond.

Police then engaged in a search of downtown Madison on foot, in patrol cars, by boat, and with the department's K-9 Paco before nabbing one of the suspects following a second chase near Academy School, which was full of people shopping at the local library's annual used book sale fundraiser.

Police Department Spokesman Joseph Race said around 4:28 p.m. that a man was apprehended near Academy School, where the town library's annual book sale was being held. Another suspect, a woman, is still at large, Race said.

Larceny spree at Stop & Shop

Madison police did not provide Madison Patch with any additional information about the incident Friday.

WTNH provided the following account:

A larceny suspect is in police custody following a foot chase, police said. Police say that Zoltan Verillo, 27, and a female suspect have been involved in a larceny spree at Stop & Shop over the past several days. The spree consisted of several thousands of dollars of stolen merchandise. They two suspects were confronted by security personnel on Friday and both immediately fled on foot into the downtown area. Verillo ... is charged with organized retail theft, larceny in the 3rd degree and interfering with police. He is being held on a $10,000 bond.

The New Haven Register reported that Verillo's address is 11 Manorwood Dr. in Branford, CT. 

The two people had been under surveillance by Stop & Shop security and fled on foot into the Madison Center area when confronted by security workers, police said. Police caught Verillo several hours later following a second foot chase near Academy School, but could not locate the woman, police said.

Merchants, downtown shoppers keep tabs on chase during sidewalk sales

Merchants with stores on Boston Post Road on Friday in downtown Madison said they were told by police that a suspect, or suspects, may have tried to steal items from Stop & Shop, which is located on Samson Rock Drive, behind the Boston Post Road.

Those merchants said they saw police officers engaged in a pursuit by foot and with patrol cars, lights flashing, through the downtown shortly before noon.

Then the fire horns went off at Madison Hose Co. No. 1 and numerous fire fighters responded to the back of the firehouse, which is on Boston Post Road and right next to Tuxis Pond.

Into Tuxis Pond

Around the back of the building, two men, one a police officer and the other who appeared to be a firefighter, launched a small rowboat and starting rowing across Tuxis Pond. As they launched, a person could be seen, swimming, approaching the far shore of the pond.

The swimmer headed towards a swampy area adjacent to the Hearth at Tuxis Pond, and Brookside Road, a small residential neighborhood off of Wall Street. The person who was swimming climbed out of the water and disappeared into the bushes on the far side of the pond.

Madison police continued to search the downtown on foot, by patrol car, and with the K-9 Paco. Madison Police Chief Jack Drumm worked with Sgt. Bryan Baxter, Paco's handler, as they searched the swampy area adjacent to The Hearth at Tuxis Pond Friday afternoon.

Officers stationed at The Hearth, Brookside Road, suspect nabbed outside used book sale

In addition to the police officers searching Tuxis Pond, and the area around it, Madison police also had officers stationed at The Hearth at Tuxis Pond, and at the end of Brookside Road, which is adjacent to Tuxis Pond.

Officers also were patrolling Bradley Road Friday afternoon, which runs behind the Boston Post Road, and connects to Academy Street, where the Academy School is located.

Tucker O'Brien was one of many people keeping tabs on the chase while running errands around town.

"I was around town running errands and I had heard about how the cops were running around town looking for the guy," O'Brien told us via email. "I was at the book sale stocking up haha and we see this guy run behind the Deacon John Grave House and then a cop came from behind him and then one from the front yard, guns drawn, and forced him to the ground."

"it was amazing to witness," O'Brien said.

Pem McNerney (Editor) July 27, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Don't know. I was downtown when the merchants started talking about the police in pursuit of a suspect. I heard from them that they heard it was shoplifting at Stop & Shop, but those were very early reports and are unconfirmed at this point. We should have additional information from the police department soon.
Daria Novak July 27, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Pem, it seems we can always count on you to be on top of things. Thanks for letting us know what is going on in town. Sure appreciate it.
Barbara Liston July 27, 2012 at 09:39 PM
my first impression too.
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 27, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Well the mere fact that one of them was anxious enough to get away that he or she jumped into a pond and swam across certainly would suggest that this is a situation somewhat out of the ordinary. Also you had the downtown packed w sidewalk shoppers, academy school full of people at the annual booksale, the nearby town green setting up for the weekly farmers market. Also the Hearth at Tuxis Pond is a senior living/assisted living facility. It seems like pursuing the suspects with all available resources would make sense given all that, even if it was "just" shoplifting. Will keep you posted as I hear more. And thanks Daria! Was lucky enough to be downtown when the merchants started talking about it.
Interested July 28, 2012 at 12:45 AM
I anxiously await more information on this story; especially the apprehended suspect's address. On second thought, maybe I am not being compassionate. Just because he was an at large thief, in a crowded downtown area, eluding the police, we should be sensitive to his situation, After all, it's not as if he were a despondent man, barricaded in his home, alone, contained by police and not a threat to the public. Thank heaven we all were able to know that individuals identity so quickly by getting his address.
Matt July 28, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Ha. By jumping into Tuxis Pond, did he think he would make his getaway by blending in with the geese? I hope someone video taped this for submission to one of those dumb criminal TV shows.
Maggie Walden July 28, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Hopefully it wasn't "shoplifting" for food by people in need....we really need to hold our opinions until more facts are known. Often running implies a serious crime, but sometimes it just reflects panic. Let's wait and see. No reported weapons or violence; let's be grateful for that and a good response by our police and firemen; as is their norm.
Malinda Moore July 28, 2012 at 02:56 AM
The article keeps mentioning the police K-9 Paco but then nothing to indicate the dog had anything to do with the actual apprehension. Did the dog find and nab the guy taking a bite out of crime or not? If so, great. If not, why keep mentioning it, when that only makes the account of what happened more confusing to readers? No one needs to try and justify local police equipment and expenses in every article.
Malinda Moore July 28, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Good point Maggie. It seems that authorities often catch the criminal, lock them up and move on without every trying to intervene with helping to identify and address the underlying cause, to prevent future bad behavior. Not everyone in our society has the benefit of growing up being fed with a silver spoon. A little more understanding equates to a lot more respect.
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 03:12 AM
MM, you sure have a lot of sympathy for people engaged in dangerous and alleged criminal activity, but not much for the police and emergency responders who keep us safe. There is a lot we don't know about this incident--as the story points out--so I won't make a specific comment on what may or may not have prompted these particular suspects to do or not do whatever it was that prompted one of them to swim across a pond filled with muck, snapping turtles, and water snakes. But let's say someone does walk out of Stop & Shop with food, without paying for it. This is Madison. They have another option. They can get an amazing amount of food, at absolutely no cost, from our food pantry that is generously stocked by people in town who want to help their neighbors in need. And guess which organization in town does an enormous amount to help stock that pantry each year? The Madison Police Department.
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 04:03 AM
Additional information available in story above from WTNH and The New Haven Register. Suspect is accused of stealing several thousands of dollars of merchandise over a period of several days from Stop & Shop.
Sarah Page Kyrcz July 28, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Pem. Thanks for keeping us updated on this extremely unfortunate situation ~ for the suspects, for the emergency responders and all the people in Mafison who could have been in harm's way. Second guessing how our police respond to events is dangerous and out of the scope of the average persons' knowledge. The bottom line is that everyone appears safe and the police did their job! Thanks to all who were involved!
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 04:36 AM
So I don't know the exact role played by Paco. But think about it. Let's say there is a suspect who is confronted and accused of stealing thousands of dollars of merchandise from a local store. You're bold enough to flee from the store. You're strong enough to swim rapidly across a pond infested with snapping turtles and water snakes. You make it to the other side, which has enough vegetation to keep a man, or woman, safely hidden away for some time. Some people observing today wondered whether the suspect would just wait it out until dark and then try to slip away. And then you have Paco come after you. He's on the scene quickly because he's based in the local police department, rather than in a state police barracks further away. The dog is trained to track. He's also trained to bite and hold. He's pretty sweet when he's around his handler Sgt. Baxter, playing ball. When he's working, he looks like a machine. With big teeth. That might prompt you to reconsider your options. Having not spoken to the suspect, or the police in any detail about this incident, I can't answer your questions specifically about how the first chase or second chase played out specifically, or whether he even know a dog was being used. I only know he was being used. Police dogs are an investment, you're right about that. But they can do things and go places that people cannot. If I find out anymore about how this specific chase played out, I'll let you know. Good question.
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Looks like suspects is accused of _lots_ of shopping over a period of days. Would be interesting to find out what they took. One of the merchants was told by police that the suspects were seen walking out of the door with a shopping cart full of stuff.
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Your sensitivity towards the suspect is commendable. The address and name, as reported by WTNH, is now included in the story.
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 04:55 AM
IMO, excellent response from police and firefighters, from what I could see. I would not want to be that suspect, with Paco and Sgt. Baxter on one side of the pond and a bunch of firefighters standing watch on the other side, and police officers patrolling on adjacent streets. Still, I wonder how the woman got away.
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 04:57 AM
Sarah! What are you doing up at this hour! You should be in bed asleep! Me too. =)
Malinda Moore July 28, 2012 at 09:07 AM
I was just agreeing with Maggie Waldons comments. I'm not condoning what the shop lifting person did and do appreciate the police arresting him. Shoplifting is illegal and is one of those things that drives prices up for all the rest of us. Every incident is unique with some people beyond the point of no return to living a productive life. But not all. Idon't know how the police and courts treated this person or others. If the police & courts do continually treat these people as if they are no good and worthless with no hope, they will become no good and worthless with no hope, continuing repeating their criminal escapades. Everyone looses. Not all people ask for help, sometimes you have to hold out your hand and offer it. It is my opinion and belief that this is The Lords way. Good point made about the food pantry for those who qualify.
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 11:41 AM
MM, one other thing about Paco, most or all of the cost of acquiring him was donated. There are on going maintenance costs, of course.
Anita Bath July 28, 2012 at 01:18 PM
They should have gone down the street to the $9 million swamp
Jane Brown July 28, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Rarely do people steal food because they are just unfortunate/hungry. They are usually drug addicts, burdening society w/their crimes to finance their addiction.They are often repeat offenders who have had many opportunities for help. Arresting them actually gives them a chance to stop the madness and take a look at their life and the direction it's heading. It gives them a chance to sober up since they won't do it on their own and to avoid an untimely, drug related death. It offers them the resources they need to change their lifestyle when they return to society. The sad truth is that instead of going to mtgs, getting a sponsor and changing their way of life, the way they KNOW they should, they go right back to drugs and crime. They CHOOSE to continue being a drug addict and a drain on society. Arresting them also provides us with a sense of security in knowing that the police are keeping order. Addiction is an ugly thing and makes people very desperate, desperate enough to break the law.They may just be stealing from the food store now, but tomorrow they could be committing armed robbery or a home invasion. I'd rather the police nip it in the bud and stop them before they resort to violence to get what they want. Personally, I want the town I live in to be one that these people avoid visiting during their crime sprees because they know they won't get away with it here.
Eunice Arnold July 28, 2012 at 03:33 PM
I was told it was 2,500 worth of Health and Beauty aids. Formula is another grab and it's not for their kids. Most of this stuff is just resold on the internet or to other store keepers that don't ask questions. The cost of their sprees is just passed onto to us in the form of higher food prices. The woman dropped her cell phone at the store....so they would have picked her with out to much trouble.
Jane Brown July 28, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Eunice, is there a point you are trying to make or dispute? If so, what is it?! Are you trying to suggest that the police response wasn't necessary because the female criminal dropped her phone? Someone still had to catch them in order to arrest them since they chose not to go willingly. In fact, the woman who dropped the phone is still at large. Unless the police go and get them and bring them in, they can't be held accountable for their crime. Are you saying people should be allowed to committ crimes and not be held accountable? I'm sure all the victims of the crimes would disagree, including Stop and Shop, who called the police in the first place.
Eunice Arnold July 28, 2012 at 04:20 PM
They should go after them with a vengence. I don't think the dropped cell phone stopped anyone. Not knowing the details, I don't know why they chose to go after the male. Hopefully with him and her cell they have her name and info. I don't live to far away from where this guy was caught and it's frightening to think of him or her going through my neighborhood.
Pem McNerney (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 06:17 PM
A Madison Patch reader just sent me some photos of the arrest outside Academy School. Just about to post them ....
Malinda Moore July 28, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Don't know what's going on with the author of these articles, but they are in the comment section more than the general public. I also don't know exactly what the accepted standard is for a news reporter / journalists. Sometimes it appears to be a conflict of interest writing an article and then bashing people who have a difference of opinion. Maybe the journalist should be unbiased, support the open exchange of views even when they personally find some to be repugnant, avoid imposing their own values on others, personal views and opinions should be reserved for an editorial not posted in an article, know the difference between advocacy and news reporting, personal commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context, remain free of associations or personal support of a person or agency that may compromise integrity or credibility, be vigilant about holding those in power accountable, show compassion for those who may be adversely affected by news articles, be sensitive when using photographs involving those affected by tragedy or grief, realize that only an overriding public need should justify intrusion into someone's privacy. Am I completely nuts and not make sense as implied by the author or does anyone else out there agree with this?
Darcy Sordo July 29, 2012 at 01:37 PM
If you don't like it don't read it.
Malinda Moore July 29, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Darcy: No question that Pem does the best job ever of gathering and putting the news out there to the public, sometimes as it's happening. Just a difference of opinion I surmise, illustrated by her statement ( I would rather have you know my biases and take them into account then pretend I don't have any) Everyone has an opinion but I see this whole thing very differently. The local Editor regardless of whom they are should report the news without bias, move on & allow the general public to either comment or debate it. Currently, some articles hit a nerve and generate dozens of public comments all over the board. Good for site sponsors and advertisers. But we must not forget that the pen is mightier than the sword, therefore The Editor has the absolute ultimate power to sway news events in any manner they choose. That is, either in the initial reporting or in a corresponding comment section. I therefore don't think Editor bias is a good thing if it ends up being used as a propaganda tool for this or that. The way it is going now, many citizens are likely afraid to say anything or have an opinion contrary to the all powerful Editor. The problem being: The end result may just be one sided boring news articles that people will give up on and stop reading, opting for other more unbiased media. Just my opinion, hope there are no hard feelings. I'm curious to hear other people's views and opinions about this if they dare to have an opinion contrary to The Editor. That's all.
Malinda Moore July 29, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Darcy. Neither I or any others can know if we like and article or not until we read it. Interesting that you apparently can, so maybe you should lend out your crystal ball for that. Telling readers to go away just because they don't agree with everything printed as gospel is un-American in my opinion. If you think everything is true and accurate just becasue it's written, we are all in trouble. We have these quirky things here in the United States like freedom of expression, opinion and speech ya know, to question authority and those in power if we choose. If you don't like a democratic society, maybe move some place with a dictator in power and live unhappily ever after. God bless America.
Charles Devine July 31, 2012 at 11:01 AM
The woman got away with all those cops all over the place? She likely got there in her male friends car parked someplace. So why didn't the cops just drive through all the parking areas with their marker plate reading device to find it?


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