Burglary suspect left his calling card behind

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
Aug. 21, 2008

NORTH BRANFORD — The second suspect in the burglary of a retired police chief’s house was caught after police said the suspect left behind a briefcase containing his and his parole officer’s business cards.

Joseph Anastasio, 31, of East Haven faces a variety of burglary and larceny charges related to a break-in last week at the home of retired Groton, Mass., Police Chief Robert Mulhern.

Anastasio’s cousin, Michael Anastasio, 20, was charged last week for his alleged role in the same crime.

Mulhern’s wife, Ruth, said last week she returned home Aug. 12 to find a gray truck parked in her Mill Road driveway. A man, who police later identified as Michael Anastasio, approached her from around the side of the house and said he was “measuring or surveying” the property.

As Mulhern went inside to call police, the man drove off in the truck. She was able to record the license plate number.

Police said Michael Anastasio had warned his cousin, who was inside the house, by walkie-talkie that Mulhern had returned home. Joseph Anastasio then left by a rear door and dumped a safe he was attempting to steal in the backyard, according to police.

The safe, which was attached to a shelf, contained cash, police badges and a handgun. Police found the safe after Mulhern called 911. They also found a briefcase containing a measuring tape and the two business cards near a window they believe was used to enter the house.

Both cousins have now been charged with third-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief, third-degree larceny, theft of a firearm, third-degree conspiracy to commit burglary and third-degree conspiracy to commit larceny. Michael Anastasio was released on $100,000 bail and is next due in court Wednesday, according to police.

Joseph Anastasio was arraigned Wednesday morning and also had his bail set at $100,000, but is being held on a parole violation, North Branford police said. He has been arrested 13 times in the past for burglary and larceny, according to police.

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