SOUTHINGTON - A Plantsville man has been accused of rigging a parent-teacher organization raffle to win two gift baskets and stealing a third basket.
Alexander Stewart, 35, of 624 Mulberry St., is facing three counts of sixth-degree larceny and one count of third-degree forgery.
According to the arrest warrant, Stewart attended a PTO Halloween party on Oct. 21 at the Apple Valley Bowling, where he allegedly put similar looking raffle tickets into a drawing to win two gift baskets his children wanted. Police allege he did not buy the tickets through the proper channels.
Additionally, the warrant said, after winning the Play-Doh basket - worth $40 - and a Red Sox basket - worth $45 - Stewart was seen leaving the bowling alley with three gift baskets. The day after the party, a gift basket won by someone who was not at the event was reported stolen.
Following the raffle, organizers noticed a number of tickets with the Stewart family name on them that were numerically different than the ones that were bought for the event.
When police spoke to Stewart, he told investigators his wife had helped sell tickets and she mentioned to him that they were purchased at a local dollar store. Stewart told police he bought tickets from the same store and had his kids sign the back of them, the warrant said.
After winning two gift baskets, Stewart told police, he and his family left the bowling alley, but it wasn’t until they got to the car that Stewart realized they had an extra basket. He said he didn’t see the harm in taking it at that point because the person who won it wasn’t there.
During the investigation, the PTO board agreed not to press charges if Stewart paid restitution, but calls from police about the intent to handle the matter outside of court were not answered. He was arrested last month.
Stewart - who is free on $1,000 bond - appeared Monday in Bristol Superior Court, where he pleaded not guilty to all charges. His case was continued to Jan. 25.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or email@example.com.