The Stamford Police Department's "most senior mechanic," was allegedly discovered to have filed an invoice for work to his personal vehicle with the department, disguised as an invoice for department fleet work, Stamford Police Chief Jon Fontneau said.
According to Fontneau, Sgt. Mike Scatamacchia, Supervisor of the Police Fleet Management Division, discovered an inconsistency with an unlabeled invoice during a regular inventory and kicked off an Internal Affairs investigation. The chief said inventories are conducted on an "almost daily basis."
Fontneau said Scatamaccia brought the $473.99 invoice to the attention of 13-year civilian department mechanic John Pikikero, 49, of Arrowhead Rd. in Trumbull. The invoice was for parts to a 1999 Chevy K2500, a vehicle Scatamaccia knew did not exist in the fleet.
Pikikero, who drives a 1999 Chevy K2500, allegedly said the invoice was likely a mistake and meant to signify parts had been purchased for Unit 398, which is a 2000 GMC pickup truck, Fontneau said.
Scatamaccia also has a mechanic's background and knew the parts ordered could not have fit a 2000 GMC pickup, Fontneau said, but knew Pikikero drove the vehicle listed on the invoice.
On Saturday, Jan. 19th, 2013, Scatamaccia pulled Unit 398 into the garage and lifted the vehicle so he could view underneath it. According to Fontneau, the parts on the vehicle similar to those on the invoice were discovered to be dirty and rusted. Scatamaccia informed the chief it was his opinion these could not be the parts listed on the invoice, as these were not new.
When Scatamaccia went to retrieve the flawed invoice, he allegedly discovered the invoice had been altered and was now labeled parts.
Pikikero was suspended with pay on Tuesday, Jan. 22, as per direction from the department's human resources, according to Fontneau. An arrest warrant was issued on Friday and it was arranged to have Pikikero turn himself into police on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 26.
Pikikero allegedly gave a statement to police that he bought the parts with department money for his own vehicle. A thorough review of all previous work was conducted, Fontneau said, and it is currently department belief this was a one-time indiscretion.
Pikikero was charged with second-degree larceny and second-degree forgery. Because the alleged thefts were of municipality money, the charge is automatically second-degree, according to Fontneau.
"This was brought to fruition because was police ourselves," Fontneau said. "Police took immediate action and, as a result, an arrest warrant was issued."