Conn. Firefighter in Group Arrested for Illegal Fireworks

July 4, 2013
A New Haven firefighter is one of three arrested by police for possessing a significant amount of illegal fireworks.

July 04--A police discovery of large caches of illegal fireworks has led to the arrests of three men, including a New Haven firefighter who was then placed on paid administrative leave from his job.

Madison and West Haven police, in conjunction with state police, found fireworks worth thousands of dollars in two homes and a trailer Tuesday night, charging the men with both felony and misdemeanor counts.

New Haven firefighter Robert Crisco, 43, of Lloyd Street, New Haven, was placed on leave Wednesday by Chief Michael Grant.

"I don't want him involved in any dealings with the department so I put him on administrative leave," Grant said.

Crisco won't be working in any fashion with the department until an investigation is complete.

"We are conducting our own internal investigation, which should be pretty quick," Grant said. "We have to get more information from authorities."

Though this type of fireworks case is common in the summer because of the July 4 holiday, the amount of explosives seized is significant, West Haven Sgt. David Tammaro said.

"This one is sizeable. I don't want to say it's the biggest seizure in history, but it's definitely sizeable and the quality of explosives -- a lot are higher grade explosives. These are not like sparklers.

They're definitely dangers," Tammaro added.

The state police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit received a tip on their Crime Stopper line Monday and passed it on to the West Haven Police Department, according to Tammaro. West Haven officers conducted surveillance Tuesday evening on Martin Street.

Around 10:30 p.m., the department's Street Crime Unit and detectives observed a transaction allegedly taking place between Luigio Zaccariello, 28, of Martin Street, and Crisco and intervened, Tammaro said.

Officers found several large boxes and containers of display fireworks, which are considered explosives, and consumer fireworks in a trailer brought to the street and belonging to Crisco, Tammaro said.

Local police received assistance in identifying the type of fireworks and determining appropriate charges from state police at the scene.

Authorities also seized $1,999 in cash.

West Haven police arrested and detained both on numerous counts of felony and misdemeanor explosive and fireworks charges, with Zaccariello being held in lieu of $50,000 bail and Crisco being held in lieu of $100,000 bail. Zaccariello, who was eventually released, was also charged with two counts of risk of injury to a minor and one count of first-degree reckless endangerment because he allegedly had fireworks and children in his home, Tammaro said. Crisco has not yet been released.

State and West Haven investigators also gleaned information that led them to a home on Hunter's Trail in Madison. Police and fire officials in Madison were called to the scene, where another large cache of display and consumer fireworks were found.

Madison police then arrested Matthew Hagan, 54, of Hunter's Trail, on charges of felony and misdemeanor explosive and firework charges, risk of injury to a minor and five counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, Madison police said. Hagan was released Wednesday morning.

The fireworks seized are considered illegal because they are sent into the air and explode, and because of the amount of gun powder they contain, Tammaro said. State police seized all explosives and fireworks and transported them to a magazine storage facility for destruction.

Reporters Ebony Walmsley and Rich Scinto contributed to this story.

Copyright 2013 - New Haven Register, Conn.

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