It started as an investigation into a smash and grab and the theft of cigarettes. It ended with police finding a man who should have registered as a sex offender, but didn’t, police said.
The alarm company for the Shell gas station on New Britain Avenue in Newington called police around 2 a.m. to report an alarm going off.
Newington police arrived, along with West Hartford police, who brought a K9. They found smashed glass but no suspect – at least right away.
It was not long before police caught up with Luis Morales, 35, of New Britain, a short distance away in the parking lot of Sears on New Britain Avenue, police said.
When police found him, he was smoking a cigarette and had a bag with items he stole from the store, Lt. William Darby said.
Morales, who had fled on a bike, had grabbed nine cartons of cigarettes and $25 from the register, Newington police said. He admitted to breaking into this store, police said.
When police ran Morales’ name, they learned he was wanted by Hartford police on an outstanding warrant for failure to register as a sex offender.
The same Shell station has been robbed at least three other times in the past two years.
The owner said he has taken every precaution he can, including placing obstacles to slow a thief down. The obstacles seemed to present no obstacle for the person who grabbed the cigarettes. The suspect went in through a window, police said.
Customers said they fear smash and grabs like this are going to be on the rise because of the difficult economy.