DARIEN, Conn. -- An alert woman playing with a small child on the playground at McGuane Field in Darien led to the arrest of a man with a lengthy criminal record for car burglary, according to police.
The incident occurred around 4 p.m. Wednesday when the 46-year-old Greenwich woman happened to look toward her car and noticed that the passenger front door was open, police said.
The woman then saw a man, identified as Scott Palmenta, 45, inside the car and yelled at him to get out and confronted him, police said.
Palmenta, of New Milford, claimed that he was not inside her vehicle, but instead was “only leaning on the car," police said. Nothing was removed from the vehicle. The woman did not immediately contact police because she was unsure of what to do, however she did take a photo of Palmenta and took note of the license plate on his vehicle. She then came to police headquarters 20 minutes later, police said.
Officers were able to identify Palmenta by matching his license plate and the photo the woman had taken with his criminal mugshots, police added.
Darien officers then notified surrounding agencies of the incident and gave out Palmenta’s vehicle description. At approximately 6 p.m. the New Canaan Police Department took Palmenta into custody for a similar incident that took place at Waveny Park, police said.
During processing it was determined that Palmenta was still on probation and he was held overnight without bond before appearing in court Thursday.
The incident is still under investigation and detectives are exploring any connections that Palmenta may have to other incidents in Darien or surrounding towns.