A car stolen from a woman in New Haven earlier this month is back in good hands after the suspect drove it to a probation meeting, where officers were waiting with an arrest warrant.
Gary Harding, 26, of New Haven, is accused of stealing a Honda CR-V from a 23-year-old Stamford woman outside the grocery store on Sept. 13.
According to police, Harding approached the woman from behind while she was loading groceries into her car in the Stop & Shop parking lot at 112 Amity Road. Police said it had begun to rain heavily and the woman was rushing to get into the car.
That didn’t happen. Instead, Harding warned her he had a gun and lifted his sweatshirt to reveal an object tucked into his waistband, police say. Police said he crawled in through the passenger door and left the victim standing in the parking lot as he drove off.
A store employee told police he had ridden the bus with Harding, who had boarded at Whalley and Sherman avenues prior to the robbery.
New Haven police and Stop & Shop loss prevention officers combed through surveillance footage that showed Harding leaving the bus. According to the video, Harding first confronted a man in a parked SUV, but dropped what he was doing and followed the Stamford woman when she rushed by, police said.
Authorities began circulating Harding’s image throughout the law enforcement community in an effort to track him down. Police said probation officers recognized him and contacted New Haven police.
Harding’s probation officer set up a meeting with the suspect at the Adult Probation Office on State Street in New Haven on Monday morning, where police said Harding showed up driving the stolen car.
He was arrested and charged with first-degree robbery and second-degree larceny.
New Haven police said the Honda CR-V may have been used as a getaway car in a recent Wallingford bank robbery. Wallingford police are investigating.