STAMFORD, Conn. -- Less than a month after a man staged a brazen robbery by jumping out of a wheelchair and running off with a $37,450 Rolex watch at the Stamford Town Center mall, police have named the suspect in the case.
Police were able to identify Larry Johnson, 38, of Mount Vernon, N.Y., due in large part to the meticulous work of Officer Cory Caserta, Capt. Richard Conklin said.
"We have a sharpshooter here in the world of forensics and his name is Cory Caserta. He's really making a name for himself in forensics, and he has become regionally renowned for his work. He gets that wheelchair, and he processes it," Conklin said of the evidence in the case. "He comes up with a fingerprint for a male by the name of Larrry Johnson from New York."
The fingerprint was found on one of the wheelchair's wheels.
At about 2:30 p.m. Aug. 2, a man entered Sidney Thomas Jewelers in the Stamford Town Center in a wheelchair, police said. He wheeled up to a display case and tried on one watch, police said after viewing the surveillance tapes and interviewing witnesses. But he doesn't like the watch and points to a second one, puts that one one, examines it and suddenly bolts from his wheelchair, police said.
He knocked down a sales clerk and pepper-sprayed a security officer who rushed toward him as he made his escape, police said. The man then fled up to the mall's seventh floor and out to the parking garage, where police believe there was a getaway car waiting for him, police said.
Police were able to identify Johnson because he has at least 20 prior convictions and police agencies have numerous photographs of him, Conklin said.
"His criminal career runs the gamut over many years and some very heinous sort of crimes," he said.
The jewelry store staff were able to identify Johnson quickly when they were shown an array of photographs, Conklin said.
Stamford police issued a warrant for Johnson, and on Friday they hit pay dirt. Johnson was arrested by police in New Rochelle, N.Y., after he was involved in a domestic dispute late that night.
Johnson, with the last known address of 175-A21 Crary Ave., Mount Vernon, N.Y., is in police custody in New York State. He will have to be extradited from New York State to Connecticut so his court date is unknown, Conklin said.
He's charged with first-degree larceny, second-degree robbery and assault in the Stamford case.
Johnson is also facing charges in Ulster County, N.Y. but Conklin said he didn't have information on those cases.
Stamford Police discovered a similar robbery occurred at the Tourneau store in White Plains, N.Y., and have notified police White Plains about the suspect, Conklin said.
Conklin was pleased with the work from Caserta and the department in finding the suspect. Police were aided by Johnson's errors, Conklin said.
"He makes two mistakes: One is he comes to Stamford and the other mistake is that he leaves the wheelchair behind," Conklin said.
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