We consider the problem of sensor selection for event detection in wireless sensor networks (WSNs). We want to choose a subset of p out of n sensors that yields the best detection performance. As the sensor selection optimality criteria, we propose the Kullback-Leibler and Chernoff distances between the distributions of the selected measurements under the two hypothesis. We formulate the maxmin robust sensor selection problem to cope with the uncertainties in distribution means. We prove that the sensor selection problem is NP hard, for both Kullback-Leibler and Chernoff criteria. To (sub)optimally solve the sensor selection problem, we propose an algorithm of affordable complexity. Extensive numerical simulations on moderate size problem instances (when the optimum by exhaustive search is feasible to compute) demonstrate the algorithm’s near optimality in a very large portion of problem instances. For larger problems, extensive simulations demonstrate that our algorithm outperforms random searches, once an upper bound on computational time is set. We corroborate numerically the validity of the Kullback-Leibler and Chernoff sensor selection criteria, by showing that they lead to sensor selections nearly optimal both in the Neyman-Pearson and Bayes sense.