Government Police/Fire

Man Charged with Robbery in West Hartford Thursday, His Third Arrest in 24 Hours

John Hghtower. Courtesy of West Hartford Police

A Hartford man who has approximately 40 prior arrests was arrested for three different incidents in West Hartford within 24 hours, including for a robbery Thursday night where he implied he had a knife.

By Ronni Newton

West Hartford Police arrested a robbery suspect Thursday night – a man who was very familiar to them because he had already been arrested in town twice in the previous 24 hours.

Capt. Michael Perruccio said that officers received a call at 8:47 p.m. Thursday from a victim who said that he had been approached by a male suspect in West Hartford Center, who implied he had a knife, and was threatening him if he did not give the suspect money.

According to police, the suspect followed the victim to CVS at 971 Farmington Ave., where the victim withdrew $20 from the ATM and the suspect took it, then fled on foot headed east on Farmington Avenue.

The victim called police, who responded and quickly located the suspect on a CT Transit bus at Farmington Avenue and South Main Street, where they took him into custody without incident, Perruccio said. A search of the suspect’s person did not turn up a knife, and police did not locate a knife anywhere else in the area.

The suspect, John Hightower, 55, of Sisson Avenue in Hartford, was charged in Thursday night’s incident with second-degree robbery, second-degree breach of peace, second-degree threatening, sixth-degree larceny, and two counts of second-degree violation of conditions of release.

He was held overnight on $75,000 bond and appeared in court Friday.

Thursday night’s arrest was the third incident for which Hightower was arrested by West Hartford Police in a 24-hour period.

On Wednesday, at 10:30 p.m., police responded to an incident at CVS at 1099 New Britain Ave. where a victim accused Hightower of a robbery in the parking lot. According to police, “the incident was later re-classified as a disturbance as Hightower verbally and incoherently yelled at the victim and knocked an item out of the victim’s hand but did not steal anything before walking away.”

While officers were searching for Hightower in the New Britain Avenue area, an employee of Beachland Tavern, located at 1128 New Britain Ave., reported a suspicious man in the restaurant who turned out to be Hightower.

Hightower was arrested and charged with second-degree breach of peace for the CVS incident, police said, and held on $1,000 surety bond but later released.

When police arrested Hightower Wednesday, they discovered an active warrant for his arrest from a May 26 incident, where he entered Temple Beth Israel at 701 Farmington Ave. in West Hartford and stole two cellphones during a wedding.

According to police, Hightower also confronted the groom, threatening to “cause a scene” if the groom did not give him money. Police said Hightower left after the groom gave him $40.

The warrant from West Hartford Police for the May 26 incident included charges of second-degree breach of peace and fourth-degree larceny. A bond of $5,000 was set for that case.

West Hartford Police said that Hightower has a lengthy record, with approximately 40 prior arrests in addition to the three this week.

Court records indicate that he has served multiple jail sentences.

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Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to indicate that the incident took place at Temple Beth Israel on May 26.

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