Son of West Haven mayor, charged with stealing $85,000 from Trumbull tavern, arrested again

The Sitting Duck Tavern in Stratford. — Brian A. Pounds photo
The Sitting Duck Tavern in Stratford. — Brian A. Pounds photo

The son of West Haven’s mayor, awaiting trial on charges that he embezzled more than $80,000 from a Trumbull restaurant, has been charged with stealing from its sister restaurant in Stratford.

Stephen Rossi, 34, of Aircraft Road, West Haven, the son of Mayor Nancy Rossi, was charged with first-degree larceny, first-degree computer crime and criminal impersonation.

During the arraignment hearing, Rossi, dressed in a striped polo shirt, his hands cuffed behind him, listened as his lawyer, Matt Popilowski argued for a lenient bond.

Assistant State’s Attorney Felicia Valentino argued that Rossi should be held on a high bond because he now has two larceny cases but Popilowski countered that the latest charges came before the pending case.
“The conduct in this case was going on simultaneously with the events of the other case,” Superior Court Judge Tracy Lee Dayton retorted. “He was looting it instead of managing it.”
But the judge gave Rossi credit for turning himself in and ordered him released on a promise to appear.
Rossi is currently free on a $50,000 bond for his first arrest. He faces the same charges.
Rossi had been manager of the Sitting Duck restaurants in Trumbull and Stratford.
Police said they received a complaint from William da Silva, co-owner of the two restaurants that Rossi had been embezzling from the restaurants.
An audit determined that between Nov. 1, 2015, and April 21, 2018, Rossi had taken cash from sales at the Trumbull restaurant and had inflated inventory at the restaurants, pocketing the difference, police said. They said the loss totaled $80,511.56.
Police said they reviewed the video surveillance footage from inside the Trumbull restaurant which they said showed Rossi counting cash in the office of the restaurant and putting some in his pocket.
Detectives later recorded a conversation between Rossi and da Silva in which police said da Silva accused Rossi of stealing money.
“How do we fix this without it blowing up completely,” police said Rossi asked da Silva, volunteering to repay the money in payments.
Police said a subsequent audit of the Stratford restaurant determined that Rossi had used the restaurant’s computer system to steal $21,236 by voiding cash sales and pocketing the money.