A North Fairfield resident feels the owner of a local company should be prosecuted for depositing village utility checks into the company's account that have been erroneously delivered to his mailbox.
"I have no personal axe to grind in this.... a thief is a thief is a thief," said former Councilman Jack Pfanner, who has lived in the village for 40 years.
Over the last few years, Minnear and Simmons, a plumbing company, have accidentally received the village's mail and at times the envelopes addressed to the village have contained utility payments from residents, according to officials.
The United States Postal service has mistakenly put the village's mail in the business' mailbox on an unknown number of occasions. The village is listed at 3 E. Main Street and the business' address is 3 W. Main Street.
"It's an honest mistake. Mistakes happen and it's not a big deal," village Mayor Daniel Traxler said.
The resident received a late notice after paying the utility bill and approached village officials about the apparent error.
Since the company deposited the check, the paper trail revealed what had happened.
The village waived the resident's late fee and because the matter was handled promptly, there was no interruption to the resident's services, the mayor said.
The matter was brought up at a council meeting late last month by the village clerk during a discussion of changing a village policy that would bill landlords for utilities opposed to the tenants of rental property in the village, North Fairfield Administrator Carl Essex said.
Essex was concerned that the village clerk first brought the problem to officials' attention at the meeting.
"It came as a bit of a surprise. It was brought to our attention for the first time at this meeting by the clerk," Essex said.
The mayor is looking into how many times the problem has occurred and how much money has been misappropriated, Essex said.
"I only know of this last time. This was the only one that was brought to my attention," said Traxler who is serving his first term in office.
Essex nor Traxler had no complaints regarding the way Minnear and Simmons handled the last incident. Both officials said the company's representative returned the money in a timely fashion.
"They are a really good business in town," Traxler said.
Meanwhile, Pfanner feels village officials consider Minnear and Simmons a "sacred cow and the matter could potentially be swept under the rug," he said.
"I don't see any justification at all in Minnear and Simmons opening mail addressed to the village of North Fairfield and then depositing in their bank. I think it's a case of theft and should be turned over to the county prosecutor, Russ Leffler," Pfanner said.
Pfanner also feels the matter should never have gotten this far.
"When the clerk found this, she should have turned this over to the county prosecutor. To me, it's a simple case of theft," Pfanner said.
The owner of Minnear and Simmons could not be reached for comment.