Connecticut – In Hamden, Connecticut, police are actively searching for a man that allegedly took off with over $17,000 worth of merchandise from a gas station, according to Fox 61.
However, this wasn’t your typical smash and grab or armed robbery that gas stations and similar establishments are accustomed to – this was an alleged theft committed by a brand-new employee of the business.
To complicate matters even more, the new hire had allegedly taken his employee file along with the various goods in order to keep his identity hidden. And police say the owner of the store “can’t remember” the suspect’s name.
According to Captain Ronald Smith from the Hamden Police Department, the incident took place sometime in late January at the Go On Gas located on 144 Arch St. in Hamden. The owner of the store had recently onboarded a new employee and the suspect was working on his first solo, overnight shift when the theft occurred.
The owner had utilized an app on their phone to be able to remotely check the store’s security feed, from what police say. Once the owner had decided to check on the cameras within the store, he quickly realized that the employee was no longer inside the store.
That’s when the owner made their way to the gas station and discovered that the employee was nowhere to be found and that a ton of merchandise was missing. Inventory checks showed that there were missing lottery tickets, cash, and 89 boxes of cigarettes.
The tallied loss totaled out to $17,183. Another item that happened to have been allegedly swiped was the new employee’s personnel folder. When police asked for the name of the suspect, the store’s owner simply couldn’t recall the new employee’s name.
The Hamden Police released a still from the store’s security feed of the employee working that night. They’re asking that anyone with information on the suspect’s whereabouts or identity to please contact Officer Jay Bunnell of the Hamden Police Department Patrol Division at (203)-230-4030.
It seems like the Go On Gas station has a bit of a reputation for making headlines, and strange ones at that, too. Back on June 9th, 2019, there was an alleged hit and run over at the gas station where the suspect allegedly offered the clerk inside the store money to delete any related security footage of the incident, according to the New Haven Register.
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In a press release, Captain Ronald Smith stated that officers were dispatched over to the store after reports came in of a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle.
Captain Smith stated the following in the release:
“The victim, a 60 year-old Northford resident, advised police that a gold vehicle ‘slammed’ into him, pinning him between his vehicle and the offender’s vehicle. The operator of the offending vehicle engaged him in a brief conversation before fleeing.”
According to Fox 61, the suspect from the gold vehicle had apparently had a brief conversation with the injured man after the incident. Captain Smith continued his statement, revealing that the suspect allegedly tried to bribe the store clerk into destroying evidence:
“Investigation further revealed that the operator of the offending vehicle entered Go On Gas and spoke with the store clerk. He offered the clerk $200.00 to delete the store’s video footage.”
The injured victim from the hit and run was reportedly taken to the Yale New Haven Hospital and treated for a leg injury. Police had also released still images of the suspect and his vehicle from the 2019 incident.
According to the Hamden Police Department’s news feed, the suspect in this case is still at large. Anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of the suspect are asked to contact Officer Justin Martin of the Hamden Police Department at (203) 230-4030.
Just south, in New York, police and courts are dealing with the issues of new bail reform laws, which keep “non-violent” criminals out of jail while they await their day in court. And it’s leading to an increase in crime.
New Yorkers are trying to figure out why serious crimes are at a 5-year high.
Ask the NYPD, and you’ll get a straight answer.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon to figure this one out. There is one core reason why this number has escalated. And it is bail reform. According to department data, there is an ongoing spike that officials attribute to the state’s new bail reform law.
The latest Compstat data, which covers the time frame from January 1st through the end of the month, shows that total overall serious felonies — such as homicide, burglary, robbery and auto theft — are up 16.4% over the same period in 2019. The increase is 6% when compared to 2015, the data shows.
Crime in the city had been on the decline in the past few years. Now, NYC is seeing double digit increases in burglaries, grand larcenies and auto theft, the latter up 70% over 2019 for the January reporting period, while robberies and felonious assaults saw single digit increases. The data does show that homicides are down nearly 20%, while rapes decreased by 18%.
But those numbers do not reflect the legitimacy of the increase of overall crime in the city.
According to Newsday, serious felonies citywide continued to rise throughout the month. NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea is scheduled to talk about the overall upward trend Tuesday during his monthly crime briefing. He is again expected to call on the legislature in Albany to tinker with the bail law, which took effect January 1st. The new law eliminates bail for most nonviolent crimes.
To reinforce Shea’s stance, NYPD officials are most likely to provide data that details the percentage of newly arrested suspects that were put back out on the street while not posting bail and walking away from an arrest and possible jail sentence.
Commissioner Shea spoke a few weeks ago with some alarm at the crime trends, which are affecting most areas of the city, particularly Queens and northern Manhattan.
“You are seeing the affects in a very quick time and that is why we are so concerned,” Shea said at the time.
Advocates of bail reform have been pushing back at Shea’s remarks, calling them asinine and thoughtless.
“From day one, law enforcement has been intent on erasing the progress we’ve made through fear mongering that distorts the impact of the laws,” said Nick Encalada-Malinowski, civil rights campaign director of the justice advocacy group Vocal-NY, in a recent statement, “threatening to take us back to a racist and unequal system that preyed upon Black, Brown and low income communities.”
Shea has said that he is a fan of bail reform, even doing away with bail altogether, but wants state judges to have the capability to set bail conditions based on a danger level to the community. With federal judges, they can set bail conditions, but their New York State counterparts are not allowed under the new state law.
Last week, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. backed Shea and voiced his support for a change in the law to allow state judges greater flexibility to set conditions for a suspect’s release.
Eugene O’Donnell, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, said the entire bail topic suffers due to poor planning discussion at the legislative stage. They [criminals] know they don’t have to fear trying to make bail, he said.
“The bad guys know the [jail] consequences are remote from serious misconduct,” said O’Donnell.
In Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, President Trump commented on the fact that criminals are being released with out bail and put back out on the streets, even those who are in the country illegally.
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