The now-retired Stoughton police sergeant arrested by the FBI helped to sell stolen televisions in town and was paid by a suspected thief to get motor vehicle records to be used in a credit card scam, according to allegations in an affidavit filed in federal court. Anthony Bickerton, 60, of Stoughton, who also serves on the town's School Committee, was arrested Tuesday night and was to appear in federal court Wednesday on a charge of lying to a federal agent.
The former Stoughton police sergeant arrested by the FBI helped to sell stolen televisions in town and was paid by a suspected thief to get motor vehicle records to be used in a credit card scam, according to allegations in an affidavit filed in federal court.
Anthony Bickerton, 60, of Stoughton, who abruptly retired on Sept. 11 after 30 years on the job, arranged with one of his confidential informants to sell stolen TVs in town and even made specific requests for stolen goods for himself, according to the affidavit by FBI special agent David S. Bell filed in U.S. District Court.
Bickerton, who also serves on the town's School Committee, was arrested Tuesday by the FBI on charges he lied to federal agents who have been investigating him and others on the Stoughton force for months, according to the affidavit.
Bickerton made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court Wednesday and was released in lieu of a $50,000 bond secured by real estate. The next hearing is Jan. 19 at 2:30 p.m.
Under the conditions of his release, Bickerton must keep working and have no contact with two former officers who are involved in the investigation.
A confidential informant told the FBI in 2008 that he had provided more than $30,000 worth of stolen electronics to Bickerton and also provided him with stolen retail-store gift cards, the affidavit noted.
The informant also told authorities that “because of this corrupt relationship,” Bickerton gave him “free access” to the Stoughton police headquarters and occasionally sensitive law enforcement database information.
The informant also offered another officer, Lino Azul, $1,000 worth of gift cards to run license plate numbers through the motor vehicle registry database. However, Azul refused to do it and reported the incident to Bickerton.
Azul, who resigned last year in the midst of the probe and is cooperating with the FBI, told authorities Bickerton didn’t appear concerned about the apparent bribe attempt.
Bickerton’s answer to Azul was that the confident informant would pay $500 for running three license plates.
Bickerton’s arrest comes after another former Stoughton police officer pleaded guilty to lying to an FBI agent as part of an ongoing probe.
That officer, Arlindo F. Romeiro, 37, of Stoughton, agreed to cooperate with federal investigators as part of a plea agreement. Romeiro is scheduled to be sentenced on April 8 on the single charge of making false statements to a federal agent. The charge carries a maximum of five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and three years probation.
Under the plea agreement, Romeiro agreed to provide “substantial assistance in the investigation or prosecution of another person who has committed a criminal offense.”
Bickerton’s earlier attorney, Joseph Krowski, said this morning his client was arrested last night by FBI agents.
“From what I know, I don’t think there should be a case against him,” Krowski said. Kevin Reddington is now representing Bickerton.
Acting Stoughton Police Chief Thomas Murphy said, until rumors surfaced last fall in town of the federal probe, he had not been aware of any of the alleged wrongdoing uncovered by the FBI.
“If we knew about this, we would have addressed it,” he said.
Murphy said he was pleased the FBI was able to uncover the problem and troubled by the allegations that law enforcement databases had been used in the alleged scheme.
“It is extremely troubling that the information that we are privileged was used in that manner,” he said. “It should be protected at all costs. ... It is beyond me to think that for their personal gain, they abused their authority.”
Murphy said he was pleased Azul refused, based on the affidavit information, to provide the informant the confidential information. However, Murphy said he wishes Azul had come to him instead of Bickerton.
He said the disclosures in court could also help end speculation in the community and bolster the morale of other officers on the force who work hard every day.
“This is closure for them and maybe they can be viewed as the good officers they are,” Murphy said. “I want all of the information out there.”
Bickerton is represented by attorney Kevin Reddington. Brian Kelly is prosecuting the case.
Maureen Boyle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.