Meriden police: Man inferred he had gun, threatened to shoot security at mall

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 9:35 AM EDT
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MERIDEN, CT (WFSB) - A man was arrested for leading a mall store employee to believe that he had a gun and claiming he’d shoot security.

Jean Espenschied was charged with second-degree breach of peace for the incident on Tuesday at the Westfield Meriden Mall.

Jean Espenschied was arrested on a charge of breach of peace after police said he inferred he...
Jean Espenschied was arrested on a charge of breach of peace after police said he inferred he had a gun and threatened that he'd shoot security at the Westfield Meriden Mall on May 23.(Meriden police)

Meriden police said the report they initially received said there was a man in the mall with a firearm.

They said they immediately responded and made contact with a witness.

“It was reported that a male, later identified as Espenschied, was shopping and told the store clerk to ‘call the cops,’” police said in a news release. “Not sure if he was joking, the clerk began a humorous dialogue with Espenschied stating she was the police. Espenschied asked to see the clerk’s badge and gun and began to raise the side of his own shirt only to be stopped when the clerk responded that she didn’t want to see what he had.”

Police said Espenschied went on to buy a pair of shoes.

When asked if he’d like his receipt, police said he told the cashier “of course so security won’t stop me, but if they do I’d shoot them in the face.”

Mall security was called after that because the clerk reported that the statement caused immediate fear.

Espenschied was detained by police as he tried to leave the mall.

“No firearm was ever witnessed or located on Espenschied,” police confirmed.

However, Espenschied was transported to Meriden police headquarters where he was charged.