Walmart robber gets 2 years in prison

Cary Ashby • Apr 21, 2014 at 11:36 PM

A local robber who attempted to flee the Norwalk Walmart was sentenced to two years in prison Tuesday.

Nathaniel W. O'Brien, 24, of 230 Whittlesey Ave., Lot 4A, pleaded guilty at the same hearing to an amended charge of robbery. The two-year prison term was a joint recommendation between prosecutors and Huron County Public Defender David Longo.

O'Brien was convicted of a third-degree felony for a Jan. 28 incident. His Feb. 21 indictment says the defendant attempted to inflict or threatened to inflict physical harm on someone while attempting to or committing a theft offense. Prosecutors have said O'Brien ran into an employee while fleeing Walmart and caused physical harm to a male customer.

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

O'Brien was arrested in the Walmart parking lot shortly after he fled the store with unspecified merchandise.

Authorities credited a man and woman with helping apprehend O'Brien, who was tripped by the woman and lost his shoe momentarily.

"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 in his report.

The New London man wasn't injured.

This isn't O'Brien's first local felony conviction.

In early April 2010, the defendant was ordered to pay $750 in restitution to a female relative. O'Brien, who was convicted of theft, was placed on two years of intensive probation and in March 2012, had another two years added to his community control sanctions, according to court records.

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