Former ‘Officer of the Year,’ union president charged with stealing money from police union (VIDEO)

Robert Anderson, who was described as a “stand out officer,” as well as former Police Captain Jay Markella were both implicated in the union’s missing funds.  (Photo credit: Fox)

Robert Anderson, who was described as a “stand out officer,” as well as former Police Captain Jay Markella were both implicated in the union’s missing funds. (Photo credit: Fox)

A well-respected former member of the law enforcement community in Cheshire, Connecticut, was arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree larceny, according to a release by the State of Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice.

Forty three-year-old Robert A. Anderson, Jr. faces two class B felony charges for allegedly stealing nearly $50,000 from the Cheshire Police Union funds by means of ATM withdrawals and unauthorized debit card transactions. If convicted, Anderson could face up to 20 years in prison and/or $30,000 in fines.

Anderson was released from jail on a $100,000 non-surety bond and will be arraigned in Superior Court next Friday.

The warrant and arrest of Anderson came about as the result of an investigation conducted by the Statewide Prosecution Bureau after a complaint was filed last February by Cheshire Police Chief Neil Dryfe and leaders of the Cheshire Police Union.

Anderson and former Police Captain Jay Markella, had been placed on paid administrative leave since July of last year while the investigation was being conducted.

After 11 years of being an officer with the Cheshire Police Department, Anderson resigned in September 2013. He had also served as the police union president in 2008 and 2009 and vice president in 2011 and 2012, both volunteer positions which resulted in no monetary compensation.

Markella also resigned in September, but it is unknown if he will also face any charges for his alleged involvement in what was originally said to be about $100,000 in union funds that was either missing or unaccounted for.

Anderson previously received the Officer of the Year Award in addition to “so much more,” Cheshire Police Chief Neil Dryfe told a local Fox affiliate. Anderson was also responsible for saving the lives of two people back in 2011 according to Dryfe, who called the allegations “shocking.”

“It’s very disappointing anytime a police officer, and in this case a former police officer, is charged with a crime for actions that they were allegedly taking while employed in a position of great public trust,” Dryfe stated.

“Rest assured that moving forward, the union and its members will continue providing the highest level of service and professionalism to the citizens of Cheshire,” read a statement released by the Cheshire Police Union.