Sherman, Conn. (Town Tribune) – Whenever the Town of Sherman makes the headlines, it’s typically about something good. This time around, news quickly spread like wildfire across the Nation about how Robert Gordon Stackowitz, otherwise known as “Bob Gordon” the boat repairman to many residents, is a convicted felon and fugitive who escaped from a Georgia work camp prison almost 48 years ago and has been living in Sherman for more than forty years.
Michael Saraceno, Sherman’s Resident State Trooper, is the police officer involved who played an integral role in helping Federal officials to make the arrest. He disclosed some details about the arrest with the Town Tribune.
At 8 a.m. on Monday, May 9, Saraceno said the arrest happened. “Myself and four members of the US Marshals Connecticut Division Taskforce went to Bob Gordon’s door at 70 Route 39 South. He answered the door and there were no issues. He said to me that he knew this day would come one day and he was a little shocked. I think that at this point in his life he didn’t think it would happen and was in denial,” he stated.
Regarding Saraceno’s part in his apprehension, he said, “the US Marshals worked on the case for a while. They did their extensive homework to confirm it was him. Once they were positive it was him, they sent over an extradition request. Then, at that point, the State police and myself applied for an arrest warrant from Danbury Superior Court for an arrest. The arrest warrant ‘Fugitive from Justice’ was processed in our State, and he was then transferred over to Bridgeport Correctional.”
As for what will happen next, Saraceno said that “Bob Gordon” now has two choices. “He can waive extradition or he can refuse extradition. If he refuses, then he will get an extradition hearing.”
When asked what will likely happen to “Bob Gordon” if and when he is back in Georgia, Saraceno replied, “I don’t know. It is undetermined at this point. I think he doesn’t have it in him to serve the sentence. He is a 71-year-old elderly man now in poor health.”
Saraceno also shared how surprised he was that Robert Gordon Stackowitz was living a normal life in Sherman for so many years and that he never tried to hide his true identity. “He still used his real name on his Connecticut driver’s license. He is also a resident and homeowner [since 1990] in Sherman and he is up to date on all the taxes. I never knew him personally but knew of him. I would see him from time-to-time taking boats in and out of Candlewood Lake for repairs.”
Saraceno added, “his capture was all based on him applying for social security using his real name. The US Marshals do all the work. Their computer system is now very sophisticated and it cross references all forms of ID throughout the United States, including names and photos, like on driver’s licenses. By the time the US Marshals called me they knew without any doubt that it was him.”
Regarding the crime Stackowitz committed almost 50 years ago, Saraceno confirmed that he only served a few years of a 17-year prison sentence for “Robbery by Force,” which is a felony, and more details cannot be disclosed. Right now, it’s uncertain what he will serve on top of that.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Stackowitz was released on bond Friday night, and he is back at his home in Sherman. Stackowitz, with the help of his attorney, is fighting the charges. Stackowitz has spoken with reporters from both the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Hartford Courant about the crime he committed several decades ago, his escape, and how he has been an upstanding citizen ever since. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles will consider Stackowitz’s case once he’s returned to Georgia. Stackowitz suffers from bladder cancer, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and other ailments, and doesn’t think he can make the trip.
According to the Hartford Courant, the bond amount is $75,000. Norman Pattis, a prominent criminal defense attorney, is representing Stackowitz. Pattis is working on the extradition to Georgia and the request for a pardon.
Just before Town Tribune went to press for the May 19 Edition, Saraceno confirmed that, for now, Stackowitz is back in Sherman. This is the place Stackowitz has called home for over the past 40 years and where he has attempted to rebuild a good part of his life.
Article and photo of Resident State Trooper Michael Saraceno are by Alicia Sakal. Originally written for Town Tribune, a traditional weekly newspaper serving Sherman and New Fairfield, Connecticut.
Robert Gordon Stackowitz Photo Source: Georgia Department of Corrections