Suspected serial robber charged in Groton, Waterford robberies

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New London — A suspected serial robber who Groton Town Police Detective Lt. John Varone said put “the entire county in anti-robbery mode,” was charged Monday in connection with two of a string of recent robberies across the region.

Timothy J. Foye, 26, of 130 Michigan Drive in Groton confessed to committing at least four convenience store robberies, one attempted robbery and a bank robbery, according to police.

Groton Town Police charged Foye Monday with second-degree robbery, third-degree larceny and breach of peace in connection with the April 9 robbery at the People’s United Bank at the Stop & Shop in Groton.

Waterford police charged Foye with third-degree robbery and sixth-degree larceny in connection with an April 7 robbery at a Henny Penny convenience store on Route 32 in the Quaker Hill section of Waterford.

Foye appeared in New London Superior Court shackled and handcuffed wearing clear plastic coveralls with shorts underneath and socks but no shoes. Judge Omar A. Williams ordered Foye held on $200,000 in connection with the bank robbery and $150,000 in connection with the convenience store robbery.

Foye has substance abuse problems and was sent to a hospital on Saturday for treatment, according to courtroom testimony. He was ordered held under a medical watch.

Foye has no criminal record, but Judge Williams said “the safety of public has to be the primary concern here.”

Varone said the recent string of robberies had detectives working double shifts and patrols performing extra business checks and surveillance in anticipation of another robbery.

Convenience store clerks were on alert following robberies that started April 2 at the Henny Penny on Route 12 in Groton. Two days later there was an attempted robbery at a Sunoco gas station in New London and a robbery at the Henny Penny at 2 Roosevelt Ave. in Mystic. Another robbery occurred April 6 at the Henny Penny on Route 12 in Gales Ferry.

The suspect displayed a gun in at least three of the early robberies. Foye told police he had purchased an airsoft pellet gun from Walmart and was initially bringing it with him at the robberies.

“Foye stated he noticed he no longer had to show the gun to get the money as the clerks were just giving it to him so he stopped bringing it in with him,” according to the arrest warrant affidavit prepared by Groton Town Police Detective Matthew Hammerstrom.

The suspect in the robberies had all fit the same general description: a stocky white male with facial hair and sunglasses and wearing a hood and gloves. An Audi was spotted leaving the scene at the Waterford Henny Penny and Groton bank robberies.

On Friday, Groton Town Police Officer Stephen McAndrew was on patrol when he spotted a 2002 tan Audi A6 on Michigan Drive with front wheels darkened with brake dust. It was similar to the car captured on Stop & Shop surveillance video.

Police determined it was registered to Foye, whose address on the registration at the time was on Farmington Avenue in New London. The same day, police said they identified Foye as a possible bank robbery suspect through a tip from someone who recognized him and the Hells Angels supporter sweatshirt he was wearing in the bank robbery.

Police found Foye at his sister’s home on Michigan Drive. During first contact with Foye, police said he was nervous and at one point cried.

“While speaking with Foye I could see the carotid artery in his neck beating heavily. He was sweating profusely and his legs were shaking,” police detailed in the arrest warrant affidavit.

During a search of his bedroom, police said they found items associated with a heroin user — a spoon with residue, syringes, glassine bags and plastic bags, along with glass pipes. In the trunk of the Audi police said they found another license plate, registered to a family member.

Foye was charged Friday with possession of drug paraphernalia.

During his confession to the Groton bank robbery, police said Foye admitted passing a note to the teller that read, “no dye packs, or GPS trackers or marked bills hand over the money and don’t be a hero.”

Foye estimated he made off with $2,000.

In the April 7 robbery at the Henny Penny on Route 32 in Quaker Hill, police said Foye had made off with about $122. Foye told police in a taped interview that it was a “wake up call,” when he walked in to rob the Quaker Hill Henny Penny and the clerk appeared to recognize him and he saw his picture posted on the wall inside the store.

Police say there are ongoing investigations related to the other robberies and more charges are expected. Police have said it does not appear an April 6 robbery at the Charter Oak Federal Credit Union in Waterford or the April 7 robbery at Dime Bank in Stonington are related to the other robberies.

Varone said the investigation into the robberies was “a great collaborative effort,” with law enforcement from neighboring towns over the past week and a half.

He said detectives and patrol officers from Groton, Ledyard, New London, Stonington and Waterford, along with the state’s attorney’s office and Naval Criminal Investigative Service, had all met to share information.

“It feels good,” Varone said of the arrest. “I think all the detectives and officers feel the same. After getting this guy off the street we’re hoping the public will feel safe again.”

g.smith@theday.com

Twitter: @SmittyDay

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