A local man with an extensive criminal record was charged Thursday night with falsely reporting an armed robbery at a liquor store around the corner from his home.
James Kosch, 27, of Linwood Avenue, was picked up by Fairfield police as he was leaving a motel room in Bridgeport around 9 p.m. He is accused of calling both local police and state police earlier that day and reporting a robbery in progress at Harry's Wine and Liquor, which triggered a large police deployment to the store at Post and North Pine Creek roads.
Officers arrived at the liquor store around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, setting up a perimeter around the area. All employees in the building were evacuated, and Officer Kevin Wells, and his k-9, Ruger, along with Officer Mark Letsch of the Emergency Services Unit, entered the building. They confirmed it was empty and there had been no armed robbery.
Detectives were able to trace the call to a home on Linwood Avenue, a few hundred yards north of the liquor store. Around 3 p.m.. they executed a search-and-seizure warrant at Kosch's residence. At the time, police believed Kosch may have barricaded himself in the house, and the Emergency Services Unit joined the action, with assistance from several Norwalk officers.
They were able to enter the house, but Kosch was not there. Police said there were 10 outstanding warrants for his arrest, and he was believed to be armed.
Around 9 p.m., they determined that Kosch was at the Sunnyside Inn on Lake Street in Bridgeport and set up surveillance until they saw him leaving one of the rooms. He was taken into custody without further incident, police said.
Kosch was charged with falsely reporting an incident in the first degree and held on a $5,000 bond. He was also charged with failure to appear on warrants from both Fairfield and Bridgeport. He is scheduled to appear Jan. 22 in Bridgeport Superior Court.
In 2007, Kosch was found guilty of third-degree assault and breach of peace and given a one-year suspended sentence and two years probation, but was found to have violated probation in 2008 when he was arrested for second-degree threatening. He received a one-year jail sentence.
He was found guilty of illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle in 2009 and sentenced to 18 months in jail.
In May 2011, Kosch pleaded guilty to possession of narcotics and was fined $1,000. Later that same year, he was charged with third-degree trespassing and two counts of failure to appear. In December 2011, Kosch was charged with conspiracy to commit sixth-degree larceny.
Kosch was also arrested in February 2012 on a charge of use of drug paraphernalia, and again last May for sixth-degree larceny. He was arrested again in June for criminal impersonation, interfering with an officer, operating a motor vehicle under suspension and failure to drive in the proper lane.