State Rep. Hector Robles, who was elected to a second term in November despite having been fired from the Hartford Police Department for double billing, was charged Tuesday with two counts of first-degree larceny.
Robles, a Democrat representing the 6th House District in south Hartford, turned himself in to investigators with the chief state's attorney's office at the Wethersfield Police Department. He was released on a written promise to appear in court and is scheduled to be arraigned March 8.
Investigators say Robles, a 15-year veteran of the Hartford police force, falsified time cards to show that he was on duty while working private jobs — a move that defrauded the department of more than $10,000. He was fired on Nov. 2.
Robles was found to be in violation of several articles of the Hartford Police Department code of conduct, including conduct unbecoming an employee, knowingly or willfully making a false entry in a department record and intentional failure to comply with lawful orders, procedures, directives or regulations, oral or written.
Despite his firing, Robles went on to win a second term as a state representative over three write-in candidates.
Several politicians have called for his resignation, including State Republican Chairman Christopher Healy and Janet Appellof, a spokeswoman for the Hartford Democratic Town Committee's 6th District. Robles currently serves on the town committee.
"He's facing some serious charges," Healy said. "His attention should be on keeping himself out of jail, not trying to keep himself out jail while representing people. Why should he continue to serve when it's clear he's broken the public's trust?"
Appellof, who at one point considered herself a staunch supporter of Robles, called on him to resign in August after the police department's internal affairs report was released. On Tuesday, Appellof repeated that request.
"I'm hoping he will resign," she said. "It really breaks my heart that a young man with so much promise has screwed himself up for a pitiful amount of money."
Sean Arena, a member of the Democratic State Central Committee who represents south Hartford, said Robles' conduct is "pulling the legislature down."
"He acknowledged that he stole over $10,000. He needs to do the right thing and resign," Arena said Tuesday. "We don't need people with this kind of mark on them serving on the legislature. The governor is trying to move this state forward."
House Speaker Christopher Donovan, a Democrat, could not be reached for comment.
R. Bartley Halloran, Robles' attorney, said Tuesday that Robles has no plans to resign from the legislature or the Democratic Town Committee. He declined further comment.
Hartford Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts ordered the department's internal affairs division last year to investigate allegations of improper documentation in Robles' weekly time cards and conflicts in Robles' regular work schedule, private-duty jobs and overtime hours.
The investigation stemmed from a captain's review of the dispatch log system, which records officers' activities during their shifts.
Robles was in contact with the Hartford police dispatch center during some of his assigned shifts. On others, his reported activities didn't match what was reported on the dispatch log system, according to an internal affairs report.
The report detailed numerous occasions in which Robles wrote on his time card that he worked a regular police shift when, in fact, he was working a private job, collecting an amount identical to his hourly pay.
Robles worked private jobs for Connecticut Natural Gas, the Metropolitan District Commission, Flow Assessment Construction Co. and Seaboard Drilling Assessment Construction Co.
The internal affairs report was forwarded to the chief state's attorney's office, which began investigating in late August.
Investigators determined that Robles defrauded the department of $10,651 between Sept. 2008 and Sept. 2009, according to an arrest warrant.
Each count of first-degree larceny is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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