An admitted drug addict and Fairfield police officer, who was accused of stealing pills and heroin from the evidence room, was arraigned on Friday morning.
Det. Stephen Rilling, the son of Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, faces computer crime, larceny, forgery, possession of narcotics, false entry by an officer and tampering with evidence charges.
Police said they started investigating 40-year-old Rilling in April when fellow detectives became concerned over Rilling's behavior and appearance. The 19-year veteran had been out of work following an injury and they thought he might be using drugs. When they checked his desk, they allegedly found a number of empty evidence bags that once contained heroin and pills.
Police said Rilling used his position within the narcotics bureau to forge documents and file false reports in order to get his hands on more than 225 folds of heroin and more than 800 oxycontin type pills.
The mayor said his son was facing the effects of the opioid epidemic that's been sweeping the state. Rilling is accused of stealing narcotic-related substances and using them to fuel an abuse problem, according to the mayor.
While the police has since made changes to how evidence is signed out, according to the affidavit, this January, Rilling allegedly removed 58 folds of heroin and said it was to follow up on the case. However, when police investigated, the story didn't add up.
"The target of this investigation was arrested on 5/16/2014 and ultimately plead guilty on 10/11/2016, therefore there was no legitimate 'Follow Up,' court request or law enforcement purpose for Detective Rilling to access this heroin in 2017," court documents stated.
In all, police believe he checked out evidence from approximately 28 cases.
"Located within a box of business cards belonging to Detective Rilling, found inside Rilling's desk...were numerous, ripped and empty druggist type folds normally associated with the storage of heroin. They appeared to be a loose collection and could not be associated with any specific case," court documents stated.
The problem was brought on by prescription pain medication, the mayor said. In early May, before his arrest, Rilling opened up in an online blog posting he first became addicted to pain medication following a surgery, even leaving the department to get help, before coming right back to the narcotics division.
Rilling posted he eventually turned to heroin and wrote "never in my wildest dreams would i believe that i would stoop so low, but I did."
Stephen Rilling appeared inside Bridgeport Superior Court on Friday morning. Because his department's cases are heard in Bridgeport, his case was transferred to Milford Superior Court. He's due back in court, later this month.
Rilling did not comment to the media outside of court after his appearance.
"He's handling this very difficult situation as appropriate can be and remains with the strong support of his family," Rilling's attorney John R. Gulash said.
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