Prospect police charge man with robbery

Anthony Simons, 44, of West Haven, identified himself as the man in this surveillance photo of an Oct. 23 attempted robbery at the Citgo station at 800 New Haven Road in Naugatuck. Simons was charged Wednesday with committing a similar robbery about 20 minutes later in Prospect. –CONTRIBUTED

Anthony Simons, 44, of West Haven, identified himself as the man in this surveillance photo of an Oct. 23 attempted robbery at the Citgo station at 800 New Haven Road in Naugatuck. Simons was charged Wednesday with committing a similar robbery about 20 minutes later in Prospect. –CONTRIBUTED

PROSPECT — A man accused of robbing several gas stations across the state was charged Wednesday in connection with an October robbery in town.

Anthony Simons, 44, of 353 Center St., West Haven entered the Citgo gas station at 20 Union City Road on the night of Oct. 23 and asked the clerk for a pack of Marlboro cigarettes, according to an affidavit filed in Waterbury Superior Court. The clerk told state troopers he handed Simons the cigarettes before noticing the handle of a gold pocket knife in his hand.

Simons said, “Give me all the money from the register,” according to the affidavit.

The clerk told police he turned over $1,024 in cash before Simons left the store.

Police knew similar incidents had occurred in at least eight other towns, including Waterbury, Naugatuck and Cheshire. When Guilford police arrested Simons in connection with a robbery there, state troopers went to interview him about the Prospect robbery, according to court documents.

Simons admitted he had been robbing gas stations while high on crack cocaine. Simons said he would drive around smoking crack, see a gas station and decide to rob it. While in the process of buying something, Simons said he would tell the clerk to give him money, but he did not always use a knife. Simons said he would then walk a short distance away to where he had parked his wife’s black Hyundai Elantra.

“I would use the money to buy more crack to smoke or take care of my family,” Simons told police.

About 20 minutes before the robbery on Union City Road, Simons attempted to rob a Citgo station at 800 New Haven Road in Naugatuck using a pocket knife, but he ran away after the clerk threatened to hit him with a piece of wood, according to court documents.

Simmons was charged in late December with criminal attempt at robbery in the first degree and carrying dangerous weapon for the attempted robbery in Naugatuck.

After viewing surveillance photos, the clerk at the Prospect gas station confirmed the man who robbed his store was the same as the man who tried to rob the Naugatuck store, according to court records. Simons identified himself to police as the man pictured in the surveillance photos from Naugatuck.

“I do not really remember doing the robbery in Naugatuck or Prospect, but my memory is not good right now,” Simons said. “I thought that I had been doing the robberies for a few weeks, and the other detectives showed me pictures of me doing robberies from two months ago.”

Simons has also been charged with the Nov. 23 robbery of a Shell station at 837 Hamilton Ave. in Waterbury. In that case, a clerk told police Simons started to buy an Arizona iced tea, then displayed a folding knife and demanded money. He was given about $600, according to court files.

For the Prospect incident, state police charged Simons with first-degree robbery, second-degree larceny, second-degree threatening and second-degree breach of peace. He is being held on a $250,000 bond to appear again Feb. 28 in Waterbury Superior Court.

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