An Enfield man honored by his local police department for helping break up a car burglary ring that had hit several communities was arrested by the same police department days later on domestic violence charges.
Christopher Silva, 39, is now in custody at the Hartford Correctional Center, held in lieu of $25,000 bail on charges of second-degree stalking, second-degree harassment, disorderly conduct and first-degree criminal trespass. He is accused of harassing a former girlfriend.
Silva was one of several citizens Enfield police honored May 15 during an awards ceremony. He and another man discovered car burglaries in process, confronted the alleged burglars and then provided Enfield police with important information that helped officers arrest the crooks. The group of young men were responsible for vehicle burglaries in Enfield, West Hartford, Bloomfield and Windsor, and police were able to recover items the young men had stolen, Enfield police said.
Silva and the second man received police citizens award for their efforts.
On May 19, Enfield police arrested Silva after getting a complaint May 18 that Silva had committed various crimes May 14, the day before the awards ceremony. Police began an investigation and arrested Silva the next day. A second investigation into allegations of sexual assault continues.
Silva is on the state sex offender registry for a 2014 conviction of fourth-degree sexual assault.
Enfield police Chief Alaric Fox said Thursday he considers the two events to be distinct.
In one case, Silva did something good that was helpful to law enforcement and he deserved recognition for what he did, Fox said. In the other, he was accused of a crime, police investigated and a judge signed a warrant for Silva’s arrest.
It would have been improper not to recognize Silva, especially given the state’s and society’s focus on giving offenders second chances.
“He did good work,” Fox said. “He was the individual who last year helped us break up a string of car burglaries that was hitting Enfield and a number of area towns. He was recognized for the substantial help he provided in that event.”
It would have been wrong to not recognize Silva because of his past, Fox said.
“We’re very focused on things like a second chance,” he said. “Can you imagine the reaction if we declined to give him an award?”
And just as police did not disqualify Silva for an award because of his past, they did not give him a pass because they gave him an award when new allegations of criminal conduct emerged, Fox said.
“I certainly was not going to not recognize him because he had a checkered past,” he said. “And we were not going to not arrest him because he got an award.”