I want to make something clear right out front: although Hartford Police Range Administrator Officer Louis Crabtree [above] is innocent until proven guilty, the evidence presented by courant.com is overwhelming. I reckon Officer Crabtree stole ammo and, most probably, sold it for cash money. Or dispensed “free” ammo for favors. Or both. For perfectly understyandable legal reasons, courant.com‘s report on Crabtree’s perfidy dances around the subject like a newbie shooter with hot brass down her shirt. Like this . . .
The [Hartford City Council’s] audit found that Crabtree, who retired earlier this month, was circumventing the department’s $115,000-a-year budget for the purchase of ammunition, which calls for buying it on an as-needed basis. If more ammunition was needed, Crabtree made arrangements with the vendor to purchase the extra ammunition on an account and pay for it at a later date in a subsequent fiscal year.
This allowed Crabtree to exceed the annual budget without the knowledge or consent of department management, Campbell concluded.
When the practice came to light in October, Crabtree had accumulated an outstanding balance of $186,000, according to the audit.
The audit also found that even though the department had purchased new 40-caliber pistols in 2012, Crabtree continued to purchase significant amounts of 45-caliber and 9-millimeter rounds.
Campbell found that over a 10-month period in 2014, Crabtree had purchased 94,500 rounds of 45-caliber and 9-millimeter ammunition, at a cost of more than $33,000.
According to the audit, Crabtree acknowledged the purchase of the 45-caliber and 9-millimeter rounds, but said that he did so with the purpose of trading for 40-caliber rounds, which he claimed were in short supply.
However, Campbell said in the audit that Crabtree did not account for the distribution of the ammunition for training or other purposes and that there were no records of how much ammunition was actually being used by or assigned to officers. Crabtree also kept no records to account for the ammunition trades he claimed to make.
See what I mean? Clearly, Crabtree is (allegedly) a bad apple. Equally clearly, no effort will be made to investigate or arrest the officers and pals to whom Crabtree funneled the ammo, who knew damn well they were getting “free” or low-cost ammo on the taxpayer’s dime.
In fact, I’d bet dollars to cop donuts Crabtree will get a slap on the wrist and continue to collect his pension at the end of all this, lest his co-conspirators be revealed. Sad but true.