Police: Shelton armed liquor store robbery leads to pursuit over 100 mph into Hartford

Photo of Peter Yankowski
Jose Balseiro, 49, of Bridgeport, was charged with first-degree robbery and fifth-degree larceny in connection with the robbery of a Shelton liquor store on Monday night. Police said he is facing additional charges for leading authorities on a high-speed chase into Hartford.

Jose Balseiro, 49, of Bridgeport, was charged with first-degree robbery and fifth-degree larceny in connection with the robbery of a Shelton liquor store on Monday night. Police said he is facing additional charges for leading authorities on a high-speed chase into Hartford.

Shelton Police Department

Police say a vehicle involved in an armed robbery in Shelton crashed in Hartford following a pursuit along Interstate 91 north that reached speeds over 100 mph.

The chain of events began around 7:30 p.m. Monday, when police officers in Shelton were called to Cleto’s Package Store on Howe Avenue for a reported armed robbery.

Shelton Police Lt. Robert Kozlowsky said the suspect was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and demanded money at the liquor store. The man left with cash and items stolen from the store, Kozlowsky said.

Using video surveillance, officers identified the car involved in the armed robbery, Kozlowsky said.

Soon after the description was sent out to other police agencies, Derby and New Haven police contacted authorities in Shelton with more information, Kozlowsky said.

Around 10 p.m., West Haven police located the suspect’s car, identified by Connecticut State Police as a GMC Terrain.

State police said West Haven police asked them to help stop the vehicle around 10:50 p.m.

State police said troopers and West Haven police were following the SUV on I-91 northbound near Exit 24 in Rocky Hill when they attempted to pull over the driver. 

State police said the driver "failed to stop and engaged police in a pursuit," speeding over 100 mph before exiting I-91 at Exit 33 in Hartford.

The GMC then collided with a metal guardrail on Jennings Road, where the two occupants were apprehended, state police said.

State police identified the driver as 49-year-old Bridgeport resident Jose Balseiro. A 37-year-old Woodbridge resident who was a passenger in the vehicle was also arrested, state police said. However, that person's charges were not immediately known on Tuesday.

Shelton police said Balseiro was charged with first-degree robbery and fifth-degree larceny in connection with the holdup of the liquor store.
He was also charged with violation of probation. He was held on $225,000 bond and was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in state Superior Court in Derby.

Balseiro was also charged with reckless driving and engaging police in a pursuit, according to state police. He is due to appear in state Superior Court in New Britain on Dec. 13 for the motor vehicle charges. His bond in the reckless driving case was set at $10,000, state police said. 

State police said the two occupants of the GMC sustained "minor injuries" during the crash and were hospitalized. State police said Hartford police are investigating the crash. A Hartford police spokesperson directed questions about the incident to state police.

“The quick apprehension of the suspect was a result of several law enforcement agencies working together and sharing information with the goal to get this suspect swiftly into custody,” Kozlowsky said.