NORTH HAVEN — When a town man was apprehended last November for a bank robbery, police thought he looked familiar.
Further investigation revealed he matched the description of a suspect in an armed robbery of an Exxon gas station that had been left open and unsolved after police wrongly arrested a different man and the charges were dropped.
Police identified Bryan Wolfe, 28, as a new suspect in that case after he was arrested for a robbery at TD Bank, 90 Washington Ave., on November 15, 2018.
Around 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 15, police responded to 90 Washington Ave. for a reported bank alarm, as well as reports of a suspicious man in the area. Wolfe was apprehended in his vehicle after engaging officers in a short pursuit.
Wolfe was found in possession of the stolen bank money, matched the suspect’s description, and was identified by bank personnel, according to police. He reportedly confessed to committing the robbery and was charged with second-degree robbery, first-degree threatening, fifth-degree larceny, engaging officers in pursuit and reckless driving.
During the investigation, several officers began to suspect Wolfe as the individual involved in the Exxon robbery, based on still photographs of the suspect from video surveillance of the incident. While interrogating him about the TD Bank robbery, officers asked if he had committed any other crimes in town and he reportedly confessed to the Exxon robbery as well, laying out details that were not known to the general public.
“Upon viewing still photographs of the suspect taken from Exxon video surveillance the assigned immediately believed that Wolfe was the individual whom we were trying to identify in this investigation,” the arrest warrant said.
Video surveillance and interviews with the victim show the suspect entering the Exxon Gas Station, 77 Washington Ave., around 9:30 a.m. on January 18, 2018, walk around the store, and approach the checkout counter and hand the attendant a note.
The note said “Please don’t call police or hit your emergency button otherwise I will shoot you I have a gun in my pocket. Open your register,” according to the arrest warrant. While the victim read the note, the suspect is seen pulling a dark colored handgun from the small of his back, fiddling with it, and moving it to another pocket.
Wolfe later told officers that the gun was a BB gun and he displayed it accidentally because it fell out of his pocket.
The suspect left the scene in a white sedan, which detectives later identified as matching one owned by Wolfe’s parents, which Wolfe said he used to commit the crime.
Deputy Chief Kevin Glenn said they believe Wolfe acted alone.
Wolfe, of 2 Cricket Court, was charged in early April with first-degree robbery and sixth-degree larceny for the January 2018 crime.
Police had originally arrested another man for the crime at Exxon a month after the incident but noted an oversight in the photo array used to identify him and inability to disprove his alibi led to the charges being dropped, according to Wolfe’s arrest warrant. It is not clear when the charges were dropped.
“Based on a lack of evidence the charges against (him) were eventually dropped and the investigation remained open and unsolved,” the arrest warrant for Wolfe states.
The State Attorney’s office, as well as police, declined to comment on the dismissed case.
Wolfe is scheduled to appear in the New Haven court on April 30 for the November robbery and April 18 for the January robbery.