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Monday, February 19 News

Tips lead to alleged thief’s arrest

FAIRFIELD — A Shelton man, caught in part thanks to tips from the public, was arrested and charged Feb. 2 with stealing a gun from a locked locker at a Fairfield gym last August.

Tyler Johnson, 28, of Long Hill Avenue, was charged with third-degree burglary, possession of burglar tools, third-degree criminal mischief, fourth-degree larceny, stealing a firearm, and criminal possession of a pistol or revolver. He was unable to post the $100,000 bond and was scheduled to be arraigned Monday in state Superior Court in Bridgeport.

Police allege that Johnson waited outside The Edge Fitness Club on Aug. 9, watching until counter staff were busy in order to be able to get inside without having to swipe a membership card. He is seen on surveillance video carrying a white plastic bag that police believe held a pair of bolt cutters. Those bolt cutters were used, police said, to cut locks off of four lockers, including one that contained a backpack with a loaded Glock 45 9mm inside. Other missing items from the lockers included a set of car keys. The keys were used to enter a car in the lot and take a wallet containing $200, police said.

Surveillance video photos of the suspect were released by police, who got multiple tips identifying the suspect as Johnson. Johnson’s driver’s license photo received from the Department of Motor Vehicles further confirmed his identity, police said.

A warrant was issued for Johnson’s arrest and he was turned over to Fairfield Feb. 2 by Shelton police.

The day before, Shelton police received a 911 call for a welfare check on Johnson, Detective Richard Bango said.

The person who called police said Johnson claimed he had a gun in his possession, Bango said.

Officers responded to the 70 block of Long Hill Avenue around 12:45 p.m. and contacted Johnson by phone. Detectives ultimately determined Johnson was in his house and the Southwest Region 2 Special Response Team — a tactical unit made up of police officers from several area towns and cities — responded to the scene and surrounded the area outside Johnson’s residence, Bango said.

“Detective Christopher Nugent was able to persuade Johnson to surrender and he came out peacefully,” he said.

No one was injured and Johnson was charged with second-degree breach of peace and interfering with an officer for the Feb. 1 incident.

Includes prior reporting by Tara O’Neill.

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