DELMAR – A pair of serial thieves stealing from the Hannaford supermarket on Delaware Avenue got a surprise on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at approximately 8 p.m.
Two Bethlehem police detectives were at the store conducting an investigation into numerous shoplifting thefts that had occurred at that location when they observed a male exit through the produce area of the store without paying for merchandise.
The male, later identified as Robert Shutter, 39, of Albany, entered an occupied vehicle that was already running and being driven by another man, Michael Hoban, 66, of West Sand Lake.
According to reports, when one of the detectives approached the vehicle, it drove away and exited the parking lot. The detective activated the patrol vehicle’s emergency lights and siren in an attempt to stop the vehicle but it accelerated to approximately 80 mph down Delaware Avenue, passing cars in the wrong lane, then onto Southern Boulevard, I-787 and I-90 eastbound. The vehicle continued to flee until it crashed in the City of Rensselaer where the suspects were arrested by members of the Bethlehem and Rensselaer Police Departments.
Shutter and Hoban were checked by EMS personnel on the scene, but both refused treatment. An inventory of the car found the stolen items: two containers of Tide pods, several pieces of beef and chicken, two bags of frozen fish, eggs, Snapple iced tea, and a frozen pizza. All perishable items were returned to Hannaford. Police also located a quantity of jewelry that were not consistent with the men.
Upon investigation and police interviews with the two men, police found that Shutter intentionally targeted Hannaford stores due to a small number of staff working at that time and they had an easy exit through the produce door.
In the police report, Shutter said since the fall, he repeated the same procedure at other Hannaford locations including, Wolf Road in Colonie 10-12 times, Central Avenue in Colonie 6-10 times, Delmar 6 times, and Latham Farms in Latham only once because he got caught.
Shutter was wanted on three outstanding warrants and a suspended license while Hoban was an active parolee with several felony convictions and did not have a valid license.
The officers charged Shutter with petit larceny and conspiracy, both misdemeanors and Hoban with petit larceny, conspiracy, and unlawfully fleeing a police officer, all misdemeanors, and numerous vehicle and traffic law violations.
During the investigation, police learned that the men targeted Hannaford supermarkets specifically and have committed several larcenies at the Delmar location.
Following arrest processing, Shutter was turned over to the City of Albany Police Department due to an active warrant.
New York State Parole was contacted regarding Hoban due to his current parole status.
Both suspects are scheduled to return to Bethlehem Town Court on Tuesday, March 7.