Government Police/Fire

Suspect in Robbery of West Hartford Big Y Arrested

West Hartford Police Department hybrid SUV. Courtesy photo (we-ha.com file photo)

West Hartford Police obtained a warrant and arrested a 31-year-old Hartford man who implied he had a weapon during a robbery of the Big Y on North Main Street.

By Ronni Newton

A 31-year-old Hartford man has been taken into custody and faces multiple charges in connection with the robbery of the Big Y Supermarket at 772 North Main Street in West Hartford on Jan. 14, 2024.

Capt. Daniel Moffo said Tuesday that following an investigation police had obtained an arrest warrant for Manuel Gunnels, 31, of Hartford. He was subsequently located by members of the Bloomfield Police Department and turned over to West Hartford Police on Thursday, March 7.

Manuel Gunnels. Courtesy of West Hartford Police

Officers responded to Big Y at 12:08 p.m. on Jan. 14, 2024, after a robbery of the customer service desk was reported, Moffo said. According to police, a male suspect, later identified as Gunnels, “approached the customer service desk, demanded money, and implied that they were in possession of a firearm.”

An actual firearm was not displayed, police said, but Gunnels, described as a “tall, light-skinned male” who was wearing a blue surgical mask and dressed all in black, obtained an undisclosed sum of money and fled the area on foot.

There were no physical injuries during the incident, but an employee of Big Y was transported to an area hospital for evaluation due to being “shaken up” following the incident, police said.

Police immediately launched an investigation into the incident, including a review of surveillance camera footage. The Community Support Unit identified Gunnel as the suspect following their investigation, and he has been connected to a series of similar incidents throughout the region, police said.

Gunnels has been charged by West Hartford Police with first-degree robbery, first-degree threatening, fifth-degree larceny, and second-degree breach of peace.

An initial bond was set at $50,000, but online court documents indicate that Gunnels remains in custody on $225,000 court-set bond. He is due in court in Hartford on March 27, at 10 a.m.

Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to please contact the West Hartford Police Department at 860-523-5203 or via the anonymous tip line at 860-570-8969 or email [email protected].

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