A former employee of Chase Bank in New Canaan and well-liked incumbent West Haven City Council candidate is facing two counts of first-degree larceny after police said he embezzled $172,000 from New Canaan residents.
Stephen DeCresenzo, 36, of 9 Apple Tree Terrace, West Haven , turned himself in Friday morning after leaning of a warrant for his arrest.
Chase Bank Security contacted New Canaan Police Aug. 6 to report possible fraudulent activity between three separate accounts.
An investigation into DeCresenzo's activity showed he embezzled $172,000 from two accounts and used a third account to filter the money.
DeCresenzo was unable to post the $300,000 bond and was arraigned in Norwalk Superior Court Friday morning.
Earlier this week, outgoing West Haven Mayor John Picard, who came into office the same year DeCrescenzo won his first term on the council, said he had no idea DeCrescenzo might be in trouble.
"I don't have any of the facts," Picard said, adding that he hasn't talked to DeCrescenzo in about a week. "I know he has a wife and kids and I hope they are all right," he said.
"I have always known him to be friendly and over the past month or two, nothing with him seemed out of the ordinary or unusual. He has always been friendly, cordial and fun-loving," Suggs said.
"I don't know what to do," Suggs said of the upcoming election in which DeCrescenzo's name will appear on the ballot. "It's horrible."
Suggs said he did not know how to move forward and may ask for advice from the Secretary of the State's Office. "This is crazy; seriously crazy," he said.
Republican City Council candidate Dave Riccio, who is guaranteed one of West Haven's three at-large council seats in this November's elections, said DeCrescenzo was very well liked, and some saw him becoming mayor one day. He said he had heard rumors over the past week that DeCrescenzo was in some kind of trouble, but he had not expected a criminal arrest warrant.
"Absolutely it comes as a surprise. He is well regarded because of his involvement in community programs and youth programs. He is one of the party's favorite sons," Riccio said. "The family is well liked in the community. This comes as a shock."
Riccio said DeCrescenzo was very personable and friendly, and he was being talked about as a serious mayoral prospect.
"You wouldn't expect this. You are just amazed that he would be associated with this," Riccio said.
John Lewis, who lost to DeCrescenzo in a Democratic primary in September, ending his bid to run for a citywide council seat in November, said he had no idea that DeCrescenzo was in trouble.
"It is a shock. I don't have any details. I really don't have any reaction until all the facts are in. I don't know what to say," Lewis said.
DeCrescenzo could not be reached for comment.