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West Hartford Police Nab Armed Robbery Suspect

Harold Zene. Courtesy of West Hartford Police Department

Police located a Bloomfield man in connection with an armed robbery of a gas station convenience store after the suspect ran out of gas while fleeing the scene.

By Ronni Newton

A Bloomfield man who is a suspect in the armed robbery of a convenience store was taken into custody Tuesday night after he ran out of gas in his getaway vehicle and stopped to ask customers at another business for money to fill his gas can.

Police said that units responded to a report of a man who had held up the convenience store at the Shell Gas Station at 195 Prospect Ave. at gunpoint Tuesday night at 10:36 p.m. Witnesses said that after entering the store, the suspect brandished what appeared to be a black semi-automatic handgun and demanded cash and cigarettes from the clerk.

According to police, the suspect fled the store, heading west on Kane Street.

A K-9 unit was requested, and until it arrived from East Hartford, police said that officers “saturated the area.” The K-9 track was conducted but was negative, police said.

A break in the case was received when at 11:08 p.m., employees from the CVS at 1099 New Britain Ave. reported a suspicious man in the store asking customers for money to purchase gas for his U-Haul rental truck. The man matched the description of the suspect in the armed robbery, police said.

Police responded, and found an unoccupied U-Haul truck in the CVS parking lot.

The suspect who had been asking for money in CVS was reportedly seen heading east on New Britain Avenue, police said, and “minutes later” Sgt. Steven Hinckley saw a man matching the description of the suspect in the parking lot of Cumberland Farms at 471 New Park Ave.

The suspect, who has been identified as Harold Zene, 48, of Blue Hills Avenue in Bloomfield, was carrying an empty gas can and in possession of a BB gun, police said, along with an undetermined amount of cash and cigarettes.

Zene was taken into custody by Hinckley without incident and has been charged with first-degree robbery, carrying a dangerous weapon, first-degree threatening, sixth-degree larceny, and second-degree breach of peace. He is being held on $250,000 bond.

According to Capt. Michael Perruccio, Zene is not considered to be the same suspect connected to a string of recent gas station robberies in West Hartford and the surrounding area.

Police said that the U-Haul truck was found to have an empty tank of gas, and was towed from the CVS parking lot.

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