Use of a stolen credit card led police to tie a Bristol man to 40 separate car burglaries over a four week period including the theft and sale of a pistol taken from an off-duty Hartford police officer, Southington police said on Friday.
Sgt. Jeffrey Dobratz said Friday that between the last week of June and mid-July, evidence recovered during a search of a home on Farmington Avenue in Bristol tied 21-year-old Nicholas Pugh-Williams to 40 separate thefts in the area of Marion Avenue, Mt. Vernon Road and Manor Road.
“On July 19, we had reports of numerous vehicle burglaries in southwest Southington,” Dobratz said. “During the investigation, detectives received information that a stolen credit card was used at Stop & Shop in Bristol. Officers used footage to find three people using the card and leaving in a vehicle with distinctive markings.”
The car, which was not described, was found a short distance away. It allowed detectives to discover evidence from the thefts, most which involved the taking of money, electronics and other items from unlocked cars on the west side of town, Dobratz said.
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Pugh-Williams was taken into custody Wednesday on a warrant, police said. He was charged with third-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit third-degree burglary, theft of a firearm, conspiracy to commit theft of a firearm, illegal firearms trafficking and conspiracy to traffic firearms.
He was held in lieu of a $100,000 bond and remains in state custody, according to records from the state Judicial Branch.
“Officers were investigating the theft of the single card when the evidence led them to something much bigger,” Dobratz said. “The investigation remains very much active and we anticipate further charges and several additional arrests in the near future.”
The majority of the thefts occurred on July 18 and 19, a police report said, the same night and morning . In the car theft case, police said most vehicles targeted were left unlocked, including the Hartford officer’s vehicle.
Police said after finding the officer’s personal gun, a pistol, Pugh-Williams allegedly sold it to a nearby store where it was recovered.
“The biggest take away from this is the importance of locking car doors,” he said. “Many of these thefts may have been prevented if the burglars weren’t able to enter the car so easily.”
Police are asking anyone with information or who may not yet have reported theft of items from their car to contact the ’s detective division at (860) 378-1640.
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