SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Two bold, brazen crimes have put some people on edge in Southington.
Police say on Sunday, two men robbed the People’s Bank inside the Stop & Shop grocery store at 505 North Main Street. One suspect handed the teller a note demanding money. He then got into a red minivan that another man drove. They took off, but police saw them and tried to stop them.
The suspects made a U-turn and headed south on Route 10 to try to get away.
The van got a flat tire and the driver stopped at a Shell gas station. Police caught up with them, arresting one of them. He is 44 year-old Norman Rinaldi of Meriden.
He was arraigned on Monday. He’s charged with a series of crimes, including robbery, larceny, and criminal attempt to commit kidnapping.
Police say the other suspect — who they were able to later identify as 31 year-old Lamar McCarthy — was able to get away after he allegedly carjacked a grandmother’s car. She was with her two grandchildren at the gas station. McCarthy is still at large and police are hoping the public can help them catch him by identifying the car he may be driving.
Police describe it as a white, Jeep Cherokee with Connecticut license plate A-J-1 3-2-4-6.
If you see a Jeep with those tags, you’re asked to call 911 immediately.
These crimes still have a lot of people in town talking, and on alert.
“If that had happened to me I’d be scared out of my mind,” said Amanda Szymanski.
“I imagine for her it had to be frightening,” said Joseph Feeney. “You know — somebody takes you and your kids.”
Southington Police say at the gas station, one suspect fled on foot — the other took off with the grandmother and grandchildren in her car. They caught the suspect who they say fled on foot (Rinaldi). For almost the entire work day on Monday, Southington Police were trying to I.D. Renaldi’s alleged accomplice who’s still on the run.
News8 spoke with police while they were working on trying to figure out who he is. They say Renaldi didn’t give up his alleged partner’s name in early interviews. But, police spent Monday continuing the investigation and reassuring the public that they were working to catch him and that safety is priority number one.
“He’s shown himself to be someone who’s willing to take some chances to remain on the loose when he carjacked a vehicle that had a woman and two children in there so we want him off the street very badly,” said Lt. Steve Elliott of the Southington PD.
Late in the day on Monday came some of the news police were looking for — finally, an ID on that second suspect. Police say he is 31-year-old Lamar McCarthy. Lt. Elliott says on Sunday and Monday, the police have gotten good leads and info from witnesses at both crime scenes — the bank inside the grocery store and the gas station. Now, they hope to get the public’s help one more time as they try to catch McCarthy. They released his picture and the description of the Jeep he might be driving around in (see above).
This case isn’t over, but with one suspect in custody and an I.D. on another, police say they’re better off on Monday than they were Sunday as the investigation now turns into a search.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” said Lt. Elliott.
Police say there is good news as far as the carjacking victims are concerned. Police say McCarthy dropped the woman and children off in a commuter lot off I-84. They were not hurt.
“I’m happy because they’re safe. I’m really happy. I feel bad for him, but I’m happy they’re safe,” said a man who was working at the gas station when the carjacking happened. “I can’t believe that’s happened in Southington because I’ve been working here almost ten years. [This has] never happened.”