Arrest of Deputy’s Wife Over Stolen Power Meters and Jewelry Triggers Internal Affairs Investigation
FlaglerLive | January 14, 2014
Heather Anne Nunziato, the 39-year-old wife of Flagler County Sherifff’s deputy William Greg Nunziato, turned herself in at the Flagler County jail Monday on felony charges relating to incidents that took place over the past 22 months. The charges triggered an internal affairs investigation of William Nunziato on Dec. 16. Nunziato, who goes by Greg, has been with the agency 13 years.
Nunziato is currently assigned to the Palm Coast precinct, where he takes in walk-in reports. He had previously been assigned to the Criminal Investigative Division.
A court case had already been opened regarding the charge that Heather Nunziato illegally installed power meters at the house she shares with her husband, after the power was cut off for non-payment. That case was opened last November. The more recent case entails dealing in stolen property.
According to Nunziato’s arrest report, Dawn Johnson, a 42-year-old acquaintance of Nunziato’s, filed a report with the Sheriff’s Office last May in which she claimed jewelry had gone missing from her house. Johnson reported to the Sheriff’s Office that Heather Nunziato had allegedly admitted to her that she’d taken the jewelry and pawned it off at Leah’s Jewelry and Pawn in Palm Coast, but that she would get the jewelry back and return it. At the time. Johnson chose not to pursue charges, pending the return of the jewelry. Several weeks passed. Nunziato did not make good on her pledge. Johnson filed a complaint.
A sheriff’s investigation turned up the pawn transaction on March 26, when several pieces of jewelry were pawned in exchange of $850. Nunziato was connected to the transaction by records that included her driver’s license and a thumb print. Johnson confirmed that the jewelry at the pawn shop was hers.
The charging affidavit in the case was not issued until last week.
In November, another charging affidavit was filed with a count of larceny of a utility and a count of criminal mischief. That case began in October when a Flagler County Sheriff’s detective was told by a Florida Power and Light security manager that an unauthorized power meter was operating at the Nunziato residence. (Because William Nunziato is a law enforcement officer, his and his spouse’s address is exempt from public record disclosure.) The case evolved into a series of discoveries of power meters stolen from one place and re-installed either at the Nunziato house or at other houses from which a stolen meter would then find its way to the Nunziato house.
FPL had cut off power to the Nunziato residence on May 13, 2013, for non-payment of $1,863.07. (William Nunziato’s current salary is $46,706. When he was with the Criminal Investigative Division, his salary was $49,722.)
On June 10, however, FPL recorded that the power meter had been activated again–but not by FPL’s doing. On June 13, an FPL agent went to the house and disconnected the meter again.
On July 16, FPL reported that a new meter had been installed at the Nunziato residence–again, not by FPL–and that it had been stolen from a house on Penn Manor Lane on June 13, the same day that power had been disconnected at the Nunziato house. The Penn Manor Lane resident reported the theft to the Sheriff’s Office, along with $600 in damages done to the resident’s breaker box, which had to be replaced.
On Sept. 11, yet another stolen power meter was discovered operating at the Nunziato residence, Hearther Nunziato’s arrest report shows. That one had been stolen from a house at 31 Penny Packer Lane in Palm Coast. On Oct. 24, FPL reported to the Sheriff’s Office that a power meter stolen from 26 Penny packer Lane was found operating at the Nunziato house, and that it had probably been stolen on Oct. 17. Meanwhile, the power meter that had been stolen from Penn Manor Lane on June 13 was found installed at 31 Penny Packer Lane on Oct. 7.
That wasn’t the end of it: a power meter stolen from a Pennfield Lane house on Oct. 10 was discovered running at the Nunziato residence on Oct. 16. Finally on Oct. 24, FPL cut the actual power line stretching from the street to the Nunziato house, “to prevent further theft of power,” the police report states.
A Flagler County Sheriff’s detective interviewed both Nunziatos. “Greg,” the report notes, “denied all knowledge of the offenses and stated that his wife did it and she would tell me how.”
“I know why I am here today about the power and what not,” Heather Nunziato told the investigator during the Nov. 18 interview, according to the police report. “I did do it. He didn’t do anything[,] he didn’t know.” (The report excludes the comma, though its exclusion is a transcription error.) “I have been going through some problems and when it happened I didn’t want to tell him.”
Nunziato told the detective that she took the power meters from what she assumed were empty houses down the street from her house, on the next block and on Penn Manor. “They just pop right off like a plug,” she said, remembering that, in all, she took four meters, swapping them out from time to time. She said she learned to do it by watching an FPL employee disconnect her power.
“I did it and I’m sorry that I did it,” she said at the end of her interview, when asked if there was anything she wanted to add. “I just want to say that he didn’t know.”
Heather Nunziato was held on $4,000 bond at the Flagler County jail. She originally faced five first-degree misdemeanor charges relating to the power meter accusations. On Jan. 9, the State Attorney’s office upgraded the charge to a third-degree felony grand theft, because the aggregate value of the thefts exceeded $300. She still faces the criminal mischief charge, a first-degree misdemeanor. As the case was upgraded to a felony, it was moved out of county court and to circuit court.
Both Nunziatos have been taken to court on small claims matters previously. Heather Nunziato has a February pre-trial appearance before County Judge Melissa Moore Stens scheduled for February 7 in one such small claims matter.