Mar. 3—A man who is charged in a gas station robbery in Hartford and an attempted robbery of a station in Windsor is suspected in at least four robberies in East Hartford, according to a police affidavit.
Anthony D. Atkins, 52, of Hartford, is charged with attempted first-degree robbery in the Feb. 16, 2020, incident at the Mobil station at 680 Poquonock Ave. in Windsor and with first-degree robbery and weapons offenses in a similar incident five days later in Hartford. He is being held on $450,000 bond.
In the Windsor incident, the store clerk told police that a man paced around the store, then handed him $2 in cash for a small cigar.
DEFENDANT: Anthony D. Atkins, 52, of Hartford
CHARGED IN: Feb. 16, 2020, attempted robbery of the Mobil station at 680 Poquonock Ave. in Windsor and a similar robbery five days later in Hartford.
SUSPECTED IN: At least four East Hartford robberies
STATUS: Held in lieu of $450,000 bond
As the clerk was making change, the man pulled out a black handgun and demanded money from the register, according to an affidavit by Windsor police Detective Renee LeGeyt, who added that surveillance video corroborated the clerk's account. The detective went on to describe the following:
The clerk believed the weapon was a BB gun based on the small opening at the end of the barrel and swatted it away, then used a cardboard display to protect his face when the assailant kept pointing the gun at him.
Eventually, the clerk managed to get the would-be robber out of the store, even as the man yelled that he was going to shoot the clerk.
As the clerk locked the store's front door, he saw the assailant get into the driver's side of a gray four-door sedan and got what he thought was part of the license plate number.
After putting out information about the incident to other police departments, LeGeyt heard from East Hartford police Detective Paul Sulzicki, who told her his department was investigating five robberies with a similar suspect and the same methods.
A few days later, Sulzicki told LeGeyt that Hartford police had arrested two men — one of them Atkins — shortly after a similar gas station robbery in their city.
Sulzicki also told LeGeyt that Atkins was wearing a Boston Celtics sweatshirt in his Hartford booking photo that looked exactly like the one the assailant was wearing during the failed Windsor robbery.
Atkins refused to meet with LeGeyt in jail, where he was being held in lieu of bond in the Hartford case.
LeGeyt subsequently met with Atkins' girlfriend and mother. Neither confirmed that the Windsor assailant was Atkins, but his girlfriend started crying when she saw a photo of the man holding a gun. She said Atkins had lost all mental health services after being arrested in a larceny case around December 2019.
Atkins had been in a methadone program for a heroin addiction, and, without the methadone, had started losing weight and hanging around with people she didn't know, his girlfriend reported.
She also said he used her son's car, which was gray and had the first five license plate characters that the Windsor store clerk thought he remembered.
A DNA sample was collected from the two $1 bills the assailant had handed to the Windsor clerk for the cigar, and the state Forensic Science Laboratory found that it was "consistent with" a known sample of Atkins' DNA. But LeGeyt's affidavit doesn't include statistics on the possibility that the DNA could have come from someone else.
East Hartford police have applied for four arrest warrants for Atkins, according to LeGeyt, although online state judicial records don't show that he has been arrested in any of those cases.
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