Pubdate: 7 Oct 1998
Source: New Haven Register (CT)
Copyright: 1998, New Haven Register
Author: William Kaempffer


NEW HAVEN - Months before police Detective Vincent Raucci resigned
amid controversy, his boss ordered him secretly followed by another
detective and the FBI considered setting up a sting to see whether he
was pilfering drugs.

Later, as the investigation expanded, his estranged girlfriend told
police she witnessed Raucci using cocaine on several occasions, once
while sitting in an unmarked police car.

The information, located in police Internal Affairs documents obtained
Tuesday from city attorneys, offers a glimpse into the department 's
growing suspicions about Raucci during the detective's final years on
the job.

During his career, Raucci received department commendations for drug
and gun busts. He was considered a good cop with street smarts.

Toward the end, the FBI set up surveillance cameras at houses he
frequented and police detectives tailed him and tracked his movement
in Fair Haven.

Informants whispered Raucci used cocaine and stole dope from some
dealers and offered protection for others, according to the report.

A convicted murderer, Scott Lewis, brought accusations that Raucci set
him up for a double murder he didn't commit.

Raucci, a 16-year veteran, resigned from the city police department
April 11, 1996, a month after the state's attorney's office charged
him with larceny, after a girlfriend was taken to a motel on
government time. He subsequently received accelerated rehabilitation,
a lenient form of probation, on the charge.

The police department, according to IA reports, began investigating
him about a year before that.

Lt. Robert Lawlor, then head of the detective bureau, instructed a
sergeant in the bureau to follow Raucci after he didn't respond to
repeated radio calls on several occasions.

On two consecutive nights, the sergeant followed Raucci to a Blatchley
Avenue house and reported he stayed inside for several hours each night.

He also observed a steady flow of cars pulling up, with occupants
entering the house for a minute or two and leaving.

When confronted later, Raucci said the house was occupied by drug
dealers and prostitutes and one of his confidential informants. He
said he met the informant in rear yards to get information and never
entered the house.

Then Police Chief Nicholas Pastore ordered him to stay out of the
area. Investigators later learned that Raucci moved next door to that
location. Raucci's cousin, an accused addict, lived upstairs,
according to the report.

The reports also refer to the separate FBI investigation into alleged
corruption by Raucci, 43. As part of the probe, investigators mounted
a hidden camera outside 99 Clay St. in Fair Haven after hearing
allegations that Raucci stole drugs from a Fair Haven dealer and gave
it to the resident.

The film showed Rauci frequented the house several times each

Confronted, he explained the resident was an informant. He was,
records show, but Raucci's files didn't report any activity with the

Agents discussed setting up a sting operation with drugs to see
whether Raucci would steal them, the Internal Affairs files report.
They ultimately abandoned the plan. The FBI probe was inconclusive
whether Raucci was or wasn't stealing from dealers with threats of

Raucci's downfall came Jan. 6, 1996, when his former girlfriend, came
to police and told investigators that Raucci, while working extra duty
shifts at a Sherman Avenue senior citizens complex, often would leave
his post and take her to dinner, to her parents' house in Hamden and
once to a hotel for a few hours.

Further, she indicated she watched Raucci make a "hand-to-hand"

exchange once with a man and later ingest what she believed was cocaine.

In checking out her story, investigators discovered a Hamden hotel
registry with his name dated May 26, 1995. Extra -duty records showed
he was scheduled to work that night at the senior housing project.

Pastore suspended him in February 1996 and barred him from even
entering the department. Raucci was later convicted on larceny charges
and put on a probation for first-time offenders. He violated the terms
and is currently wanted on outstanding warrants. He apparently lives
in New Mexico.

His case drew renewed attention after an FBI investigation surfaced
last month examining whether Raucci framed Lewis, 33, for a 1990
double homicide. Lewis is serving a 120-year sentence for the crime,
but has hired an attorney to secure a new trial.

Lewis, a drug dealer, alleges Raucci was himself involved in the drug
trade and set him up because Lewis owed Raucci's partner a drug debt.

The main witness against Lewis recanted his testimony against him to
the FBI and said Raucci coerced him to wrongly implicate Lewis. This
same witness later again reversed his story.

The state's attorney's office in New Haven has declined to reopen the

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Checked-by: Rich O'Grady