A local public works employee, who also serves as an elected official, told police he stole a ring from his friend's wife to help feed a drug addiction he's been battling for two years.
Joshua Ruccio, who works in the Public Works Department, is facing a fifth-degree larceny charge in connection to the theft in January. Mayor Robert A. Mezzo declined to state Ruccio’s current work status, and whether he is still on the job.
Mezzo said in an e-mail response to Patch “the borough of Naugatuck does not comment on personnel matters to the media.”
Ruccio turned himself in to the Naugatuck Police Department, and was arraigned in Waterbury Superior Court on Wednesday. He is due back in court March 2.
According to his arrest warrant, Ruccio told police in a signed statement that he went to the home of David Mariano “in the hopes of finding something I could sell.” Ruccio said he needed money to support a pill addiction that he had been battling for the past two years.
Mariano’s 14-year-old son answered the door, and Ruccio asked him to use the upstairs bathroom, police said. After using the bathroom, Ruccio found the gold wedding band that belonged to Mariano’s wife.
Later, Ruccio told police he went to Waterbury and traded the ring for painkillers called “roxie pills,” valued at $90. The ring was valued at $700, police said.
In his statement to police, it’s unclear whether Ruccio, who is a sanitation sewer employee, was on the clock at the time of this incident. At the very beginning of his statement, Ruccio said, “I left work and drove to my close friend’s house.”
Shortly after the theft, Mariano contacted Ruccio about the ring, which Ruccio said he hadn’t taken. But after a day, on Feb. 1, Ruccio said he began thinking about what he stole and said, “I feel terrible.”
Ruccio also told police “I can’t say I am sorry enough for what I have done. As of today I am seeking treatment for my addiction to pain killers.”
Ruccio said he hoped to seek restitution with Mariano.
Apart from being a town employee, Ruccio is also a bailiff — which is a minor elected position that involves serving legal documents — and had worked previously as a coach for both the school district and local volunteer leagues.
Editor's Note: A previous posting of this article contained an error. David Mariano is not a probate judge. Rather, his brother Peter Mariano is a probate judge for Naugatuck, Middlebury, Prospect and Beacon Falls. This has since been corrected.