It only took police investigators about an hour to locate the two suspects that they believe robbed a inside Stop & Shop on Saturday.
And the story, according to Naugatuck police, involved the suspects' bungled diversion plot, an attempt to get rid of the evidence, a quick-thinking off-duty police officer who was in the right place at the right time and witnesses who where savvy enough to report a suspicious car, and a suspicious couple, before the bank robbery even happened.
Joshua Habib, 25, and Brianna McCarthy, 22, were both taken into custody from their home at 192 Hunter Drive in Litchfield as the alleged robbers in the case.
Police said McCarthy was the woman who donned a red wig, walked up to the People’s United Bank branch around 2:45 p.m. and . Meanwhile, police said Habib was the sunglasses-wearing getaway driver who sat outside the supermarket in a silver Saturn prior to the robbery.
It all began when police got a 911 call just prior to the bank robbery of an attempted abduction of a woman by gunpoint in the area of Ward Street. A male caller, which police later identified as Habib, said he saw a man holding a gun and was trying to “grab a female,” said Lt. Robert Harrison, Naugatuck police spokesman.
Police said there never was any female being abducted and that call, which turned out to be false, was just a Habib's attempt to divert police away from the scene of the bank robbery.
The caller then hung up before police could get any more information. As patrol officers were investigating this call police got an additional report of a suspicious car reported outside Stop & Shop in Naugatuck, Harrison said.
Witnesses told police they saw a silver-colored Saturn parked near Stop & Shop with the occupant “acting suspiciously,” police said. They gave a description of the two occupants and one witness wrote down the number of the car's California license plate.
Soon afterwards, the report of the bank robbery was called in.
Then, these same witnesses saw the female — identified as McCarthy — fleeing the supermarket wearing the red wig after allegedly robbing the bank inside. She got into the Saturn and the couple travelled toward Field Street, Harrison said.
Police put this information out on their internal radio so all officer units could hear. Meanwhile, Naugatuck Officer Peter Bosco, who had just gotten off duty and was driving in his personal car with his police radio, was driving in the area of Allerton Road when he got the report about the suspects.
At that point, the Saturn nearly collided with Bosco head-on as it the suspects fled the scene, Harrison said.
Seeing that the two occupants matched the description of the suspect, Bosco turned his car around and got behind the vehicle. But this time, the vehicle bore Connecticut registration plates, which is information he broadcasted back to all police units on the hunt, Harrison said.
"Officer Bosco really needs recognition for his efforts off duty," Harrison said. “He just did a terrific job.”
The ordeal ended back at Habib’s and McCarthy’s residence on Hunter Drive in Litchfield. The Connecticut State Police where there to arrest them as they pulled in to their home, Harrison said.
Habib was charged with a conspiracy to commit third-degree robbery, a conspiracy to commit third-degree larceny, and reporting an incident in the first-degree. McCarthy was charged with third-degree robbery, third-degree larceny, a conspiracy to commit third-degree robbery and a conspiracy to commit third-degree larceny.
Harrison said the suspects later confessed to the crime. They led detectives to the location of the red wig and California plates, which had been discarded into a dumpster on Field Street, and the male suspect was determined to have also called in the earlier Ward Street incident as a diversionary call.
Both were held on $150,000 bonds and are due to appear in Waterbury Superior Court on Feb. 14.
Apart from praising Bosco for his quick thinking and efforts, Harrison also said the witnesses that had called in the suspicious vehicle were a "huge help" in the case.