A man accused of breaking into his co-workers’ homes and stealing their underwear was in court in New Britain Tuesday.
The alleged crime happened in August of last year, when police say they found a bag in the suspect’s car with 17 pairs of women’s underwear inside.
According to court documents obtained by NBC Connecticut, one of the women got a notification from her security system saying there was movement in her house. When she texted her husband asking him if he was home and he said no, she knew something was wrong. She watched remotely and recognized the man inside their home was her co-worker, Robert Brown.
Shortly after, Wethersfield Police arrested him near the home, later finding a shopping bag in his car containing the underwear as well as adult novelties and other items.
The woman, who was a longtime administrator at the Stew Leonard’s in Newington, identified some of the underwear as her own. A few days later, a female cashier who worked at the same store identified a few of the other pairs found as hers.
On Tuesday, Brown faced charges of burglary in the third-degree and larceny in the sixth-degree, but his case was continued to September 25, 2019. Brown pled not guilty to the charges back in February.
“The charges against my client are both overstated and exaggerated,” said Brown’s attorney, H Brian Dumeer, in an exclusive interview with NBC Connecticut.
Dumeer, who works at Carlson & Dumeer, LLC in Middletown, would not say whether his client knew the alleged victims outside of the workplace prior to the incidents.
“The allegations surrounding this matter are certainly not indicative of my client’s character,” Dumeer added.
NBC Connecticut reached out to the attorney representing the alleged victims and she did not want to comment.
Now, the women involved in the case also want to hold their employer accountable for what happened. They are suing Stew Leonard Holdings LLC, claiming they failed to protect them and their belongings.
In the civil lawsuit obtained by NBC Connecticut, the women claim Robert Brown took their keys from their locker and office—even going so far to take a picture of one of their drivers licenses to get an address. Wethersfield Police documents also describe said photo, which they found on the suspect’s cell phone.
Police say that’s how he was able to break into their homes and steal their underwear.
NBC Connecticut spoke to women in the area about the case.
“I think that is disgusting,” said one woman, “I think people have no respect for other people’s stuff.”
“If one of your employees feels unsafe, then you should probably do something about that,” another local woman said.
In a statement to NBC Connecticut on the matter, Stew Leonard Jr. said in part, “As the father of four daughters – all of whom have worked at stew’s – I’m very sensitive to creating a safe and friendly environment. I’m really saddened by these allegations.”