Sep. 22-State police have charged a second person in connection with the robbery and theft of cigarettes from a Tolland gas station last year.
Lazaun Bell, 52, from Windsor, was charged Monday with second-degree robbery, third-degree larceny, second-degree criminal mischief, and third-degree assault.
Bell is being held in lieu of $100,000 bond and is to appear in Vernon Superior Court on Oct. 17.
According to state police, troopers responded to the Mobil gas station on Merrow Road shortly after 1 a.m. Aug. 12.
They met a witness who reported driving up to the gas pumps and seeing people wrestling in the cashier area.
An affidavit supporting Bell's arrest provides the following additional details:
An employee reported that he was outside smoking a cigarette when a car pulled up to the gas pumps. A woman, later identified as Stephanie Beaulieu, got out and entered the store.
She walked behind the counter and began stuffing boxes of cigarettes into her bag, the employee said. He attempted to stop her, but a man, later identified as Bell, grabbed him from behind and restrained him.
Both left the store and got back into the car to drive away, but not before the employee was able to grab the license plate off the car.
The car turned out to be stolen and was located in Hartford, occupied by Beaulieu and Bell, about a week later.
State police interviewed Beaulieu later that month, and she admitted to stealing cigarettes from a convenience store, but said she couldn't remember what town it was in, or who helped, because she was likely high on crack cocaine.
The day after the robbery an inventory of the store determined that over $3,000 worth of cigarettes were stolen, and the shelves they were stored on were damaged.
State police connected Bell to the robbery through a DNA report, which determined that his DNA was found on evidence collected from the scene, including from the back of the store employee's shirt.
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