5 charged in armed robbery outside home

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
Aug. 22, 2008

NORTH BRANFORD — Five people are under arrest following an armed robbery in front of a Sea Hill Road home Wednesday night.

Later that night, police dogs from the West Haven and East Haven police departments and state police helped to locate the gun believed used in the crime, police said.

Police received a call at about 9:15 p.m. Wednesday from a man saying two people held him up at gunpoint and stole $500. Five people left the scene in a vehicle together, he said.

The Police Department did not identify the alleged victim.

According to police, Christopher Spellen, 20, and James Rusnack, 19, both of New Haven, approached the man in front of a house where he was staying and demanded money. Rusnack allegedly threatened the man with a gun while three other people waited in a car.

The man was “known to carry a large amount of money,” police said, not elaborating on the reason for that.

Shortly after the 911 call, North Branford Officer Sean Anderson saw a car on Route 80 that matched the description the man gave police. After Anderson stopped the car, one of the occupants said they had thrown the gun out the window while driving, according to police.

K-9 units from the three other departments assisted North Branford in the search, and West Haven Officer Matthew Haynes and his dog, Tex, found the gun along Route 80, police said.

Police arrested all five occupants of the vehicle.

Spellen and Rusnack were charged with one count each of carrying a gun without a permit, fourth-degree larceny, first-degree robbery, fourth-degree conspiracy to commit larceny and first-degree conspiracy to commit robbery.

Rusnack allegedly took the gun used in the crime from his brother-in-law’s East Haven home, according to police.

The two men were arraigned Thursday and were being held in lieu of $50,000 bail, police said.

John Kennedy, 23, Bonnie Colburn, 18, both of Branford, and a 17-year-old from New Haven each face charges of second-degree breach of peace, fourth-degree conspiracy to commit larceny and first-degree conspiracy to commit robbery, according to police.

Colburn was driving the car involved, according to police. Kennedy, Colburn and the teen were released on $5,000 bond and are due in court Sept. 2, according to police.

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