Ah, Ridgefield, this tranquil town routinely cited as the safest community in Connecticut … but not always.

According to local historian Jack Sanders, “Ridgefield is no stranger to life’s shadier characters. The history of this idyllic community includes cunning crooks, suburban embezzlers, bungling burglars, and wandering scallywags.”

Sanders has compiled fascinating tales of two centuries of Ridgefield criminals, ne’er-do-wells and even wayward do-gooders in his latest book, Wicked Ridgefield, and he will share some of those tales with you on Friday, March 3, at 1 p.m. You’ll hear about bank robbers who blew the safe at the savings bank in 1894, the hermit who was murdered for love, the never-identified skeleton that was unearthed at a tree nursery, and more stories from Ridgefield’s darker days.

An editor of The Ridgefield Press for 45 years, Sanders has written many articles and several books about the town’s history. His website, RidgefieldHistory.com, has a large collection of his writings on Ridgefield’s place names and notable residents and offers a detailed timeline of Ridgefield history over three centuries. He also maintains the Old Ridgefield group on Facebook. For a better understanding of what Ridgefield was like in the 19th and 20th centuries, come to this entertaining and occasionally humorous glimpse into some of the town’s wickedest moments.