BRENTWOOD — A former Derry Public Works employee was sentenced on Thursday to 12 months in county jail for stealing $12,713 in cash from the town’s transfer station.
Daniel Hagerty, 75, pleaded guilty on Thursday to theft by unauthorized taking in Rockingham County Superior Court for pilfering the cash while working at the Derry Transfer Station.
His pleas for leniency, saying he was the sole caretaker for his ill wife, who would suffer from him being jailed, drew harsh words from Judge Marguerite Wageling.
Hagerty voided roughly 1,800 tickets from transfer station transactions so he could steal cash payments made by townspeople disposing of their waste.
“Over eighteen-hundred times you chose for whatever reason to engage in very selfish behavior,” Wageling said. “Putting aside what you did to your employer, that is what you did to your wife.”
Hagerty admitted to pocketing between $50 and $100 per day between July 2012 and June 2013, telling police he took the money to help pay for medical bills he had as a result of his wife’s stroke, Assistant County Attorney Jerome Blanchard said in court Thursday.
Blanchard argued for a 3- to 6-year state prison sentence, saying that the theft wasn’t a one-time occurrence and only ended when Hagerty was caught stealing by another town employee, who noticed discrepancies in the transfer station’s computer records.
“It probably would go on until he was caught,” Blanchard said of the thefts. “At any point during that time he could have said ‘This is wrong, I shouldn’t be doing it.’”
Blanchard also cited Hagerty’s criminal record that included two theft convictions, and three drunken driving convictions.
“The town of Derry was very good with the defendant. He had some drinking issues and they worked with him on that,” Blanchard said. “He returned the favor by stealing from them.”
Defense lawyer Donald Blaszka argued that Hagerty’s age, meager financial means and his role as his wife’s full-time care giver should be considered while weighing his punishment.
Blaszka said his client was more worried about his wife possibly having to go into a nursing home without him being present to care for her.
“It’s not about him, it’s about her,” Blaszka said. “He is her full-time caregiver. He cooks for her, bathes her. He does everything he can for her.”
The full restitution of $12,713 was paid to the town on Thursday, Blaszka said. Wageling also ordered three years of probation for Hagerty and 200 hours of community service to be performed in Derry. She reminded Hagerty that if he violated probation upon his release, then she could impose the full 7½- to 15-year prison sentence.
Hagerty apologized during the hearing, saying, “I’m just sorry to even be here. I’m sorry to have to apologize to you and to my wife for putting her through this.”