Men wanted in CT’s ‘retail robbery network’ captured in Hartford

State police said they arrested three people in an overdue rental van on Tuesday, at least two of whom were wanted in connection with a “retail theft ring” in the Hartford area.

State police said the U-Haul van had all of its rental decals removed and its windows tinted. Inside, police said they also found a gun without a serial number that had been fitted with a threaded barrel.

Around 3 p.m. Tuesday, state police detectives spotted the van, which they said was suspected of “numerous organized retail robberies throughout Connecticut,” as well as at least one armed robbery .

Authorities tracked the van until it stopped at a gas station along Brainard Road in Hartford.

At that time, state police said one of the people inside, Edwin Pacheco, 26, of Hartford, got out and placed a gun in the center console of the vehicle.

“Pacheco was combative and non-compliant as he attempted to fight off police and return to the driver’s seat of the vehicle,” state police said in a news release Wednesday. He was subdued and handcuffed after a detective used a Taser on him, state police said.

A second suspect in the robberies, Bryan Shepherd, 33, of Canterbury, was also located and taken into custody, state police said.

A search of the van revealed 30 bags of fentanyl, drug paraphernalia, burglary tools, knives, a machete and a fake firearm, state police said. Also in the van was a “loaded firearm without a serial number and with a threaded barrel,” state police said.

Pacheco and Shepherd were charged with carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle, felony possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of an assault weapon, interfering with an officer and possession of a controlled substance.

Police also arrested a 40-year-old Manchester resident who was in the van and had two active warrants for failure to appear in court.

Police said Pacheco and Shepherd were wanted on arrest warrants in West Hartford, Enfield, Avon, Glastonbury, Bloomfield and Vernon.

Both are being held on bail and are due to appear in Hartford Superior Court on Wednesday.

Any police departments investigating similar burglaries can contact State Police Sgt. Gordon at [email protected]

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