It used to be, stealing high-powered firearms from state armories was a big deal around here.
Remember “The Friends of Eddie Coyle,” a great Boston novel made into an even better movie? It was about criminals who, among other things, stole rifles out of a public armory. Those guys learned the hard way that crime doesn’t pay — Eddie Coyle gets shot in the head and the guy selling him the stolen M-16s goes to prison.
But that was fiction from 1972, and the truth in 2020 is that in Massachusetts, you can steal however many guns you want from a public armory, and it’s no problem whatsoever, at least if you’re a Massachusetts state trooper.
Just ask Lt. Paul Wosny of Norfolk, now grabbing $8,556 a month since September 2016. That’s $102,677 a year.
Then there’s Trooper Paul Wilmot of Sturbridge, pocketing $5,090 a month since November 2016. That’s $61,076 a year.
So much for all those ballyhooed “crackdowns” on the culture of corruption that is the Massachusetts State Police.
Today’s scandal involves the state police armorer’s unit in New Braintree. Troopers being troopers, a bunch of them started robbing the place blind.
After all, the motto of the MSP is, “To Protect and Steal.”
Among the scams uncovered by a state investigation: the crooked troopers accepted “personalized” guns worth up to $3,000 from a dealer soliciting MSP business. To cover up the payoffs, the transfer records on the guns were falsified, indicating they went to a business owned by yet another state trooper, who was not charged in the racket and has since also “retired.” That trooper is now collecting $6,761 a month, or $81,130 a year.
Wosny and Wilmot just pleaded “sufficient facts” to the traditional reduced charges, namely, “violating the standards of conduct for a public employee.” The dispositions were made, not in Superior Court, but in East Brookfield District Court. Out of sight, out of mind.
The cases were of course “continued without a finding.” A CWOF means that, despite the overwhelming evidence of their corruption, two years from now the staties’ crimes will be wiped off the slate, and their monthly kisses in the mail can continue, tax-free, forever.
It’s not like they got off scot-free, of course. Wosny had to pay $7,500 in court costs. Wilmot not only had to pay $7,500, he also had to return the guns he stole from the commonwealth.
Given the recent harrumphing by the new MSP colonel about integrity, I asked for a comment about why these thieves with badges haven’t yet been stripped of their huge pensions.
This was the response from Dave Procopio, also known as the Baghdad Bob of the state police:
“The MSP’s culture must be one of responsibility. It is, however, the state retirement board that makes pension decisions.”
OK, then, let’s check in with the retirement board re: admitted thieves Wosny and Wilmot:
“Where they were not convicted (a CWOF is not a conviction), at this time the MSRB would have no basis to pursue forfeiture under Section 15(4) of the statute.”
In other words, as long as he can plea-bargain down his rampant criminal behavior down to a CWOF, a state trooper can steal a hot stove without gloves, and then come back for the smoke, yet never sweat losing his pension, let alone do even an hour in jail.
Which is exactly why the MSP scandals just keep on comin’.
It’s Massachusetts. In the halls of justice, the only justice is in the halls.
These two crooked cops also turned over 200 “unserviceable” guns to a different MSP vendor, after indicating to that dealer which ones they wanted for themselves. Wilmot got nine, Wosny two. Still another crooked statie at the armory, Robert Outwater, grabbed 10 free firearms out of that particular grift.
Outwater, who snitched on his fellow sticky-fingered brothers in blue, remains the only statie who’s been punished at all for his role in this organized theft ring. As of Friday, Outwater remains suspended without pay.
In state police lingo, it’s called waiting till the heat dies down — the same MO as if you’re busted for drunkenly exposing yourself at a country music concert in Foxboro, or beating up your girlfriend, or brawling with cabana security guards in Vegas.
They always claim they’ve got a disease. Yeah, they do. The clinical term for the disease infecting the MSP is kleptomania.
By the way, did you notice the new report last week by the state inspector general about another of the MSP crime families — F Troop at Logan Airport. After reviewing records of paid details at Logan, the IG said that the “vast majority” of F Troop’s earners have been “improperly” collecting pay.
Gov. Charlie Baker could not be reached for comment. Tall Deval is on a ski vacation in Utah.