The watchful eyes of Stamford residents led to the arrest Thursday evening of a fugitive who police say is wanted in several Connecticut towns and at least two other states.
City residents spotted a man canvassing the Stamford Athletic Club at 11 p.m. on Oct. 4 and immediately reported it to police, who responded and took the suspect into custody. The man, who police later identified as Ilir Gecaj, 41, has a last known address of 47 Greystone Place in Shelton.
Gecaj was initially charged with criminal trespass, but when a computer check revealed that the name he originally gave police and that the ID he provided were not his, he was additionally charged with forgery, interfering with police and identity theft.
Police said the computer check also revealed that Gecaj was a wanted fugitive in the following towns/states:
- New Canaan
- New Haven
- White Plains, NY
Gacej, a native of Yugoslavia, also has a federal immigration detainment against him and deportation proceedings are already pending against him, police said. He was held on a $1 million bond.
According to Capt. Richard Conklin, Gacej's criminal career dates to back to 1988, when he was arrested on a charge of first-degree robbery. In 1992, he reportedly started getting involved in credit card theft, a crime for which he was arrested in 1993 by the U.S. Secret Service, Conklin said. Gacej has reportedly been arrested for narcotics and assault charges over the years, too.
Conklin said Gacej's "MO" appears to be that he would go to exclusive fitness centers, break into lockers and take credit cards and personal documentation, from which he would create fake IDs for himself.
“This case is possible only because of our eyes and ears—the citizens of the city,” Conklin said. “They saw something and reported it. They were crucial in this arrest.”
Editor's note: this article was reported by DJ McAneny and written by Gary Jeanfaivre.