FARMINGTON — As Levar Fulgham and two others left the Farmington TJ Maxx with $4,500 in designer handbags Wednesday evening, Farmington police were waiting. Store security officers had spotted the alleged shoplifters and called police.
When Fulgham, 34, of Milford, saw police, he started running. He hopped into an idling car parked near the old Borders Books and Music store and tried to put it into gear and drive off. He picked the wrong car.
The car was equipped with an ignition interlock device, which requires the driver to blow into it to release the gear shift. If alcohol is detected, the device prevents the car from moving. The car’s owner was required to install the device after a drunken driving charge. Fulgham apparently did not know how the device worked.
“He starts to rev the engine like he was trying to engage it and he couldn’t engage the shifter,” Ryan said. “What are the odds of that? Otherwise he would have been long gone.”
Fulgham abandoned the car and tried to run off, but Farmington officers chased him down. An officer had to use a Taser to gain control of him.
Police caught Fulgham and Jasmin Mancini, 34, also of Milford. A second man escaped. Police said the three were at the TJ Maxx at 1600 Southeast Road stealing Michael Kors and other designer handbags. They also had a pair of Polo socks in their haul, Ryan said. All items, many of which were already in the trio’s car, were recovered, Ryan said.
Fulgham was charged with attempted third-degree larceny, fourth-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit fourth-degree larceny, sixth-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit sixth-degree larceny, refusal to be fingerprinted and interfering with police. He was held on $100,000 bail for arraignment Thursday in Superior Court in Hartford.
Mancini was charged with fourth-degree larceny, sixth-degree larceny and conspiracy. She was released after posting bail. Police are seeking the third person.
Fulgham refused to cooperate with police during the booking process, but officers found cell phones in his car, got his name and were able to identify him with a photo from the state Department of Correction, Ryan said.
Ryan said police also found tin foil squares on Fulgham and some of the handbags he and the others were accused of stealing. The foil apparently helps shoplifters defeat sensors in stores, Ryan said.
By David Owens, Hartford Courant