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Affidavit: CT shooter stole empty kegs, cases

August 12, 2010 6:17:53 PM PDT
The man who fatally shot eight co-workers at a Connecticut beer distributor stole cases of beer and empty kegs worth more than $400, according to court records.

An affidavit obtained Thursday by The Associated Press said Omar Thornton, a truck driver at Hartford Distributors Inc. in Manchester, handed off two empty kegs in exchange for undisclosed compensation in July. A week later, he gave away five cases of beer.

Police arrested Christy Quail, 33, of Enfield, on larceny charges three days after Thornton killed his co-workers, wounded two others and took his own life on Aug. 3. He had just been shown video evidence of him stealing beer and was asked to resign.

Quail, who police said is the wife of a former Hartford Distributors employee who knew Thornton, did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday. Her husband has not been charged.

According to court records, managers at the beer distributor received a tip that Thornton stole beer from his truck. The company hired Aegis International, a private investigation company to follow through.

Video recordings provided by Aegis show Thornton driving his truck to an East Windsor strip mall at the end of his shift on July 16, meeting a man and woman and taking two kegs from his truck and placing them in the trunk of their car, the affidavit said. It also said the man "hands Thornton something and is heard saying `thank you very much,"' after receiving the items.

The investigators followed the car to Quail's home, according to the affidavit, which was first obtained by The Journal Inquirer of Manchester.

A week later, investigators observed Thornton driving to the same strip mall and loading five cases of 30-pack beers into the trunk of a car driven by a woman.

Quail is identified as the woman in the July 23 incident, the affidavit said.

Police said they questioned Quail and her husband, Sean, about the thefts on Aug. 3 and both denied being involved. Police also said Quail claimed to have never met Thornton.

Steven Hollander, vice president of Hartford Distributors, told police the kegs and cases stolen by Thornton cost $412.

Quail is free on bond and is scheduled to appear in Enfield Superior Court on Aug. 17.

The company reopened its offices and warehouse on Wednesday.

Workers observed a moment of silence in the parking lot and company President Ross Hollander offered words of encouragement to employees.

John Mastropietro, chairman of the state Workers Compensation Commission, said Thursday that information about how to seek workers compensation was sent a day earlier to the two survivors and relatives of the eight workers killed in the rampage.

Compensation would be 75 percent of a worker's average income over a year after reductions for Social Security and income taxes.

Spouses of those killed on the job receive lifetime compensation or until they remarry. Children receive compensation until they're 18 or older if they're in college.

He said the payments made by the insurer for Hartford Distributors could be the largest since a former accountant at the Connecticut Lottery Corp. fatally shot four executives and himself in 1998, but he had no specifics.

"It's going to be fairly large," Mastropietro said.

Workers compensation generally precludes liability lawsuits unless "wanton and willful negligence" by the employer can be proven, he said.


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