Tammy Casale never thought trying to sell two horses would turn out like this.
Casale, who lives in Marlborough, told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters that after more than a decade, she was ready to sell two of her four horses, now that her kids no longer live at home.
Last November, she consigned a longtime family friend to sell them.
The friend also worked at a Ledyard stable with a man named Bryant Preston, which Casale said she didn't know at the time.
Preston took charge of selling the horses, and within a few weeks, successfully found one of them a new home. Casale was paid $1,500 for that horse.
Then the problems began. Without warning earlier this year, Casale claims, she learned Preston took the second horse, a brown paint named Arrow, out of the state without her permission.
Preston told Casale he sold Arrow, but would not say to whom.
She told Preston she wanted her horse back, at which point Preston called her multiple times to say if she wanted the horse, she had to pay him $1,600 in what he claimed were boarding fees, Casale told the Troubleshooters.
According to investigators, Preston later gave conflicting accounts about whether he ever tried to pay Casale the money he owed for Arrow.
Casale called the police. Connecticut State Police Sgt. Jeffrey McDermott investigated and in the end concluded there was enough probable cause to arrest Preston, according to state police documents Casale provided to the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters.
The case was presented to Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney Rafael Bustamante.
But Bustamante refused to prosecute the case, and Casale claims he would not tell her why. State police documents indicate the court believed this was a civil matter.
That’s when Casale contacted NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters Chief Investigative Reporter Len Besthoff. Bustamante also declined to talk with Besthoff.
Casale said she looked into hiring an attorney who could pursue her case against Preston. She learned it could cost thousands, with no promise it would lead to a positive result.
The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters directed Casale to contact Bustamante’s supervisor. She did.
In the end, State’s Attorney Michael Kennedy decided to prosecute Bryant Preston. Preston was arrested Aug. 29 on charges of larceny, harassment and interfering with an officer. He's due in New London court Sept. 29.
Casale told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters she's grateful someone is finally trying to help her bring justice, yet Preston has still not shared where her horse is, and whether he is safe.
To Casale, that information is more important than getting paid for Arrow.
Preston would not comment when we called, saying his attorney would contact the Troubleshooters. We have yet to receive a response.
If you believe you have any information on Arrow’s whereabouts, please contact the Connecticut State Police or the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters.