Fulton County Sheriff’s deputy Richard A. Christiano charged with grand larceny, fired

PERTH – A Fulton County Sheriff’s Department deputy who was arrested by state police Tuesday on felony grand larceny charges was fired this morning, the county sheriff said.

Troopers said Richard A. Christiano, 45, of Glen, was charged with two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny. He is accused of illegally selling two handguns.

He faces action later in courts in Glen and the village of Broadalbin.

“It’s a sad day for the department,” Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino said today.

He said Christiano’s employment was terminated effective today, although Christiano can contest it under civil service law.

A state police news release issued Tuesday said Christiano was off-duty when he was charged. He was arrested after a joint investigation by state police, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms into gun transactions that took place at The Gun Store in Perth.

Giardino said Christiano – who has been a Fulton County sheriff’s deputy the past seven years – owned The Gun Store separately from his county law-enforcement duties.

The news release said the investigation revealed Christiano allegedly took two handguns into his possession while working at The Gun Store for safekeeping, and sold the handguns without the owner’s permission in 2013 in Fulton and Montgomery counties.

State police said the handguns were recovered and the investigation is continuing.

According to state penal law, fourth-degree grand larceny involves theft of property in which the value of the property is greater than $1,000, but the value of the property allegedly stolen is not greater than $3,000.

Giardino said he was contacted by state police of the investigation into Christiano.

“Once I was notified by the state police, we worked jointly,” the sheriff said.

He said Christiano was one of 27 officers working full time for the Law Enforcement Division of the Sheriff’s Department.

Giardino said the arrest of Christiano -who he pointed out is considered innocent until proven guilty – “shouldn’t detract” from the work by the “good men and women” who serve as the other officers in his department.

“The incidents happened over two years ago,” he said. “He’s very remorseful.”

Giardino said Christiano was hired by former Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey.

Before coming to Fulton County, Christiano worked as a deputy for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Giardino said.

Fulton County Acting District Attorney Chad Brown couldn’t be reached for comment this morning.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected].

By -