Police: Quick response thwarted armed robbery attempt in downtown Westport

FILE PHOTO: Police said they were notified around 11:15 a.m. Sunday by a couple who reported being victims of an attempted robbery on the Ruth Cohen Steinkraus Post Road Bridge

FILE PHOTO: Police said they were notified around 11:15 a.m. Sunday by a couple who reported being victims of an attempted robbery on the Ruth Cohen Steinkraus Post Road Bridge

File photo

WESTPORT — Quick thinking by one of the victims of an attempted robbery this weekend and the location of the incident helped police quickly apprehend the man they said was responsible.

Police said they were notified around 11:15 a.m. Sunday by a couple who reported being victims of an attempted robbery on the Ruth Cohen Steinkraus Post Road Bridge — a landmark gateway to downtown Westport.

The couple reported that a man approached them quickly from behind and repeatedly told them to bring him to their car while brandishing a knife, police said.

The woman was able to run across Post Road with her husband following soon afterward. One of the victims was able to flag down an officer in the area and gave a description of the suspect, who police said fled toward Jessup Road. Neither victim was injured.

Officers responded to the area and began to search. During the search, a firefighter called in a possible sighting of an individual matching the alleged suspect’s description in the 300 block of Post Road East, police said. Officers responded and detained the individual, later identified as 41-year-old James S. Cummings, of Bridgeport.

“Given that the downtown is one of the main hubs for activity in Westport, that area is heavily patrolled and that will certainly continue,” Lt. Dave Wolf said Monday. “To that point ... seconds after the incident occurred, one of the victims was able to flag down an officer who was in the immediate area.”

The incident also took place not far from the police station.

“I think the department’s close proximity to the downtown area definitely played a part in allowing us to quickly apprehend the suspect,” Wolf said. “In addition to the cars on the road, there were a couple of officers at headquarters who were able to quickly respond.”

First Selectman Jim Marpe could not be reached for comment.

Cummings, who police said was out on bond from an unrelated incident, was charged with first-degree attempted robbery, third-degree attempted larceny, carrying a dangerous weapon and second-degree threatening, police said. He was held in lieu of $250,000 bond.

He was on bond from an incident on Sept. 5 that led to him being charged with two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, second-degree threatening, third-degree attempt to commit assault and second-degree reckless endangerment, according to police.