West Hartford Police Charge Man In Sunoco Robberies

A suspected serial robber who lives two blocks from a West Hartford Sunoco station that was robbed four times in six months was arrested Thursday, and police say they plan to charge him with all four crimes.

Robert Escobar, 62, of Oxford Street in Hartford, was charged Thursday with first-degree robbery and sixth-degree larceny in connection with the latest robbery, which occurred Wednesday, at the Sunoco station at 669 Farmington Ave., near the Hartford line.

In court Friday morning, his public defender said Escobar is being treated for heart disease and is a cancer survivor, and has no means of support.

With this new robbery charge and past drug convictions in New York and Pennsylvania, the state bail commissioner recommended a bond of $500,000 for Escobar, while his lawyer asked for something under $100,000. The judge set bail at $250,000. He is scheduled to return to court Dec. 19, when his case may be transferred to the serious-felony division of Superior Court.

West Harford police said they have prepared warrants to charge Escobar with the other three robberies, which took place on Nov. 9, Oct. 22 and June 28.

He was arrested without incident on Thursday, police said.

The prosecutor said additional warrants are expected shortly.

The arrest came a day after police issued a news release about the robberies with surveillance pictures from all four, and asked for help in finding the man in the pictures.

Police said it appeared the surveillance video showed the same person in all four robberies, and also said the man might live near the station because he ran away in the same direction after more than one of the robberies.

West Hartford Sgt Christopher Day, of the department’s detective division, credited the arrest to “old fashioned police work.” Officers canvassed neighborhoods near the gas station, showing the surveillance pictures and got information that lead them to Escobar’s apartment, Day said.

In each robbery, the man implied that he had a gun, police said. And each time, he was captured on a surveillance camera.

Earlier Thursday, West Hartford Police Lt. Michael Perruccio said he has heard of suspects returning to the same area or even to the same address to repeat a crime, both in West Hartford and across the country. They may begin to feel more comfortable, he said, and think that if they got away with it once, they’ll get away with it again.

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