West Hartford police have arrested a Maine resident who is suspected of burglarizing homes in Connecticut in 2007 while he was working for the Salvation Army.
West Hartford police traveled to the Cumberland County Sheriff's lock-up in Portland, Maine on Tuesday and took Gabriel Estela, 30, into custody on burglary and larceny charges. Police said he left Connecticut after the 2007 crime despite being on a three year probation.
“We lost track of him somewhere in the state of Maine for about 9 years," Lt. Ted Stoneburner of the West Hartford Police Department told NBC Connecticut. " And our front desk officer did an awesome job tracking him down and found out he was incarcerated in the state of Maine.”
Police said Estela and James Ryals, 27, were working for the Salvation Army, where they picked up furniture, and used their jobs to get into homes, steal items and pawn them.
Estela and Ryals went to a house to pick up donated items and while the homeowner was distracted, Estela stole items valued at $1,500, police said. He pawned them off in West Hartford.
Estela had finished serving a prison sentence in Maine when West Hartford police took him into custody and he previously waived extradition rights and agreed to be extradited to Connecticut, according to police.
He has been charged with second-degree burglary, third-degree larceny and conspiracy charges in connection with the West Hartford case.
Ryals was detained in East Hartford on an unrelated matter on Aug. 7, 2007, when West Hartford police took him into custody. He was convicted on a third-degree larceny charge and sentenced on April 21, 2008.
Bond is set at $100,000 and his next court date will be Jan 21.