BRIDGEPORT — A former Stratford firefighter was arrested Wednesday, accused of working as a plumber while collecting disability benefits from the Fire Department.

Lavar Slocum, 32, was arrested at his Luke Hill Road home and charged with fraudulently receiving Worker's Compensation benefits and with first-degree larceny by defrauding a public community.

He was released on a promise to appear pending arraignment in Superior Court Nov. 18.

Slocum, who had worked as a firefighter since 2001, was fired by the town of Stratford Sept. 1 based on the accusations.

According to the warrant affidavit of investigators with the Chief State's Attorneys Office, on Jan. 11, 2004, Slocum was injured when he slipped and fell on ice while pulling a hose off an engine.

Although Slocum later returned to work for light duty, he continued to complain of shoulder pain and told his supervisors he couldn't do the light-duty work, the affidavit states.

Although subsequent examination did not determine any definite medical problems, Slocum remained out of work through April 2004, collecting Worker's Compensation payments totaling $9,444.99.

Meanwhile, inspectors said, the town hired a private investigator to watch Slocum, after receiving information he was working as a plumber when he claimed he was hurt and unable to do his firefighter job.

Between Feb. 23, 2004, and April 27, 2004, the surveillance found Slocum was working at multiple locations as a plumber for a company called Master Plumbing and Drain Cleaning, the affidavit states. Matthew DiToro, the firm's owner, told investigators that Slocum was working for him as a subcontractor.

Daniel Tepfer, who covers state courts and law enforcement issues, can be reached at 330-6308.