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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
AmericaSuspect in $200,000 Shelton comic book theft rejects plea deal

Suspect in $200,000 Shelton comic book theft rejects plea deal

MILFORD — A Waterbury man charged with stealing $200,000 in rare comic books from a Shelton storage unit rejected a plea offer in the case that would have seen him sent to prison for three years.

Saul Salazar, 34, appeared in Superior Court Tuesday on charges of first-degree larceny and conspiracy.

He is one of three men who police say plotted to steal several boxes of rare comic books from a collector who was keeping them in a unit at CubeSmart Self Storage on Bridgeport Avenue.

The comic books were eventually recovered.

The prosecutor, Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Howard Stein, said he offered Salazar a plea deal that called for a 10-year prison sentence to be suspended after three years, followed by five years of probation.

But his lawyer, Charles Kurmay, told the judge his client wants to take the case to trial.

“After having discussed the matter with Mr. Salazar, he’s not willing to accept the state’s offer,” Kurmay said.

The judge advised Salazar the charges carry a maximum punishment of up to 40 years in prison.

The theft was reported in July 2019.

A few weeks later, the victim told police he saw some of the stolen comics on display at a store in New Haven, according to an arrest warrant.

The store owner told the collector he had purchased the titles from three men and provided them with a phone number and $800 check he wrote to a co-defendant of Salazar’s, James Wadsworth Sr.

Wadsworth allegedly told police the comics were used to settle a debt owed to him from a co-worker.

Later, Shelton police learned Salazar had a storage unit near the collector’s unit. Police said Wadsworth and his son, who has also been charged, helped sell the comic books.

Salazar allegedly told police he had found the comic books and agreed to an interview with detectives.

But two hours after missing the meeting, a detective spotted Salazar in a car being driven by a woman and pulled it over after an alleged illegal turn.

Salazar said he was on his way to the police department, according to the warrant. He gave a detective permission to look inside the vehicle, where there were two bags of comic books.

Police ultimately recovered all 532 comic books that had been taken, according to an arrest warrant. Included were the first Spiderman, Fantastic Four and X-Men,plus several early Captain America comics.

The victim placed the total value at $204,500.

James Wadsworth Sr. is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 25, 2022. James Wadsworth Jr. is scheduled to appear Dec. 7.

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