Police: Man Who Kidnapped Grandma, Grandkids Arrested In Hartford

Hartford police said they have arrested the man suspected of carjacking and kidnapping a grandmother and her grandchildren on Father’s Day in June as he fled Southington police after a bank robbery.

At the time of the holdup, Lamar McCarthy was the driver of the getaway vehicle, a van, that recklessly sped away from an officer, striking a car in the process, police said. On Monday, McCarthy again was behind the wheel as he struck a car — an unoccupied, parked car in the North End of Hartford — as he tried to get away from police.

He ran from Hartford officers, who arrested him after a foot chase and a struggle, they said.

McCarthy was handed over to Southington police, who hold a warrant charging him with three counts of kidnapping, second-degree robbery and other charges. He also faces Hartford’s charges, which include reckless driving, evading responsibility and possession of a controlled substance, according to police.

McCarthy was in custody on $750,000 bail early Tuesday and is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Bristol later in the day, Southington Sgt. Jeffrey Dobratz said.

According to Hartford police, McCarthy’s arrest followed a narcotics operation by undercover detectives in the city. About 1:15 p.m. the officers saw a drug deal involving at least one car.

Officers converged, but a suspect suddenly accelerated backward, police said, “operating recklessly, traveling in reverse on Martin Street.”

The suspect, identified as McCarthy, ran away and officers ran after after him. After a foot pursuit and violent struggle, police were able to handcuff McCarthy, whose last known address was on Vine Street in Hartford, police said.

Southington police said they hold a warrant for his arrest in the Father’s Day crime spree that included pulling the grandfather out of his Jeep and kidnapping the grandmother and two grandchildren, ages 6 and 3.

Police said the carjacking happened shortly after 1:15 p.m. June 18, when they were alerted to a holdup alarm at the People's Bank in the Super Stop & Shop at 505 North Main St.

The robber, who police say was Norman Renaldi, went into the bank, gave the teller a note demanding money, implied he had a gun and fled with the cash.

Renaldi then got into a waiting red Honda minivan, with McCarthy behind the wheel, police said. McCarthy took off.

An officer spotted the getaway vehicle as it headed north on Route 10. The officer tried to stop the van near Walmart at 235 Queen St., but the van did a U-turn, struck a car, and then sped south on Route 10, police said.

In the area of North Main and Curtiss streets, the van's tire went flat, but the man behind the wheel kept driving until he got to the Shell station at 212 Main St., police said.

There, McCarthy pulled over and both men ran toward the gas pumps. The two men pulled the grandfather from his driver’s seat in the Jeep Cherokee and McCarthy got behind the wheel. Renaldi ran around to the passenger seat, but McCarthy took off before his accomplice could get in. Still in the car were the grandmother and two grandchildren, according to a police report.

Police said McCarthy let the grandmother and children out of the Jeep, uninjured, at a commuter lot about five minutes away and drove off.

Renaldi, meanwhile, ran from the officer, but police captured him a short distance away. At gunpoint, officers ordered him to show his hands and surrender, but Renaldi refused, telling the officers at least twice "nope," according to the report. He made several sudden motions with his hands and lunged at police, but they did not fire. He was restrained after a struggle.

"He's very lucky there was not a shooting involved in this case," prosecutor Ronald Dearstyne told the judge at Renaldi's arraignment.

Public defender Alfonzo Sirica told the judge that Renaldi "has a significant heroin issue."

Renaldi remains in custody on $500,000 bail at the Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown, according to correction records.

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