Norwalk robbery suspect arrested in Walmart parking lot

Cary Ashby • Feb 24, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Two witnesses helped apprehend a fleeing man accused of stealing merchandise from the Norwalk Walmart on Tuesday.

Nathaniel W. O'Brien, 24, of 142 Concord Court, is charged with robbery. If convicted of the second-degree felony, he faces two to eight years in prison.

"He caused physical harm to another during the theft offense. ... He ran from the business with stolen merchandise," Norwalk Assistant Law Director Scott Christophel said.

Christophel declined to say what was stolen, but said police recovered the merchandise.

"When the employees confronted the individual, he attempted to flee," Norwalk Police Officer Michael Biller wrote in his report.

"Two bystanders in the parking lot intervened to help apprehend the subject. An unidentified female tripped the subject, causing him to lose a shoe briefly and a male subject in the parking lot grabbed (O'Brien) and held onto him until police arrived. The subject attempted to free himself from the grasp of the concerned bystander by producing a can of aerosol pepper spray on the bystander and himself," the officer said.

O'Brien was arrested in the Walmart parking lot shortly after he reportedly fled the scene. Police said they also arrested the suspect on a probation violation warrant through Norwalk Municipal Court.

Walmart employees reported the suspected robbery at 1:44 p.m.

The last officer left the scene almost 50 minutes after being dispatched to Walmart.

"I think he (O'Brien) ran into an employee while fleeing and caused physical harm to the (male) customer," Christophel said.

It's unknown if the male victim required medical attention. The police report indicates an Ohio 60, New London, male witness wasn't injured.

If O'Brien posts a $10,000 bond, he is prohibited from being on the premises of the Norwalk Walmart.

The defendant's criminal history includes a 2010 felony theft conviction in Huron County.

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