Two-minute Milford burglary nets six-year prison sentence for Stratford man

Photo of Ethan Fry
The state Superior Courthouse building in Milford, photographed on Oct. 19.

The state Superior Courthouse building in Milford, photographed on Oct. 19.

Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

MILFORD — David Paul wasn’t inside a Brewster Road home for long after smashing his way through a rear glass door Sept. 12, 2019.

In that time, however, the former Stratford man made off with more than $28,000 in loot, including an 18 karat gold Rolex, knives, and jewelry that once belonged to the homeowner’s mother.

The financial cost of the break-in was easy to calculate, the homeowner told a judge at Paul’s sentencing on burglary and larceny charges Wednesday.

But the victim, identified only by his initials in court, said the psychological and emotional costs are more difficult to reckon.

“In two minutes, the sanctity of our home was shattered,” the man said, describing to Judge Peter Brown how he and his wife were at a deceased friend’s house comforting his widow when they got a call from their alarm company and watched video of surveillance cameras in their home showing Paul breaking in.

Paul was arrested after cops identified him from the security cameras inside the home.

“The safety and security we had always felt was gone,” the victim said. “The defendant took our security away from us with his callous acts of thievery.”

The couple spent over $8,000 in repairs and security upgrades to their home, but still don’t feel completely secure, he said.

“My wife and I jump every time we hear a notification on our phone,” the man said, adding that they have changed their habits to lessen the chances of another burglary and installed more cameras on the property. “We will never forget the feeling of being violated in our home.”

A plea deal in the case called for a six-year prison sentence. The victim said he suspected Paul had an accomplice who knew where he and his wife kept valuables — and would have agreed to lesser punishment if Paul identified a co-conspirator.

But Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Charles Stango said Paul disavowed having worked with anyone. “That’s why we’re here today.”

A lawyer representing Paul, Jerome Larracuente, said his client struggled with addiction issues throughout his life, and while under the influence of narcotics does not exercise good judgment.

But he also noted that in the two years Paul, 38, has been behind bars since his arrest in the case, Paul hasn’t received any disciplinary tickets, contrasting that with prior stints in prison when he did get in trouble.

“He does seem sincere in trying to live a healthy life at this point,” Larracuente said.

“I’m sorry for the victims now that I’ve realized how it really affected them,” Paul told the judge.

But the judge seemed skeptical after reading from Paul’s criminal record, which included several burglary and larceny convictions.

“This has happened before,” Brown said. “So when you stand before me and say ‘Oh now I understand what impact there was,’ with all due respect I doubt that very seriously.”

The judge said he was troubled by the case and hesitated to impose a six-year prison sentence called for in a plea deal in the case.

But after speaking with lawyers and noting the sentence included conditions of $36,203.69 restitution to the victims and orders to not contact them, he said the terms “in the balance will be appropriate.”

He then handed down a 12-year prison sentence, to be suspended after Paul serves six years, followed by five years of probation.