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Bodegas Get A Break
by Thomas MacMillan | Oct 19, 2012 11:12 am
Posted to: Legal Writes, The Hill
An armed man on a crime spree picked Eddie’s Market as the next corner store to knock over. He didn’t count on Eddie pulling a gun of his own, helping cops nab a duo suspected of eight robberies in two months.
Edilberto Fontanez (pictured) told that story at a Friday morning press conference in the Hill, where he thanked police for their arrest of two men in connection with eight separate bodega robberies starting July 28.
Police were able to catch one of the men when he tried to rob Eddie’s Market on Sylvan Avenue on Sept. 25. He fled the store after Fontanez fired two shots at them and pressed a panic button. Police that night found and arrested the man. They found his alleged accomplice the following day.
With the help of evidence left behind at a Fair Haven robbery, police were able to link the pair to eight robberies, said Assistant Chief Archie Generoso (pictured). Seven of the robberies occurred in the Hill—four were at the same store on Kimberly Avenue—and one was in Fair Haven.
“They had a couple of communities in terror for a couple of months,” Generoso said of the suspects, facing TV cameras and backed by cops at the Hill police substation Friday morning.
Generoso said one of the men, a 24-year-old, was out on parole at the time of the robberies. The other, also 24, was on probation as a sex offender in New York, he said. Once in custody, the men confessed to all eight robberies, Generoso said.
After the men robbed Redente’s Package Store in Fair Haven, police were in “hot pursuit” through rear yards near the shop, Generoso said. They didn’t catch the guys, but they recovered a shotgun and other evidence connecting the men to robberies in the Hill, Generoso said.
On Sept. 8, the two men tried to rob Walt’s Package Store on Columbus Avenue, Generoso said. The clerk had just made a bank drop and didn’t have money for the robbers. They shot him in the chest, Generoso said. “They shot him because he had not money to give.”
When one of the men tried to hit Eddie’s Market 17 days later, Fontanez “pulled out his own weapon and had something to say about it,” Generoso said.
Generoso asked that people let the cops know what a remarkable job they did, and thank them.
“Thank you to the police department for a job well done,” said Hill Alderman Jorge Perez (pictured).
“I want to thank the New Haven police department for the good job they’re doing,” said Fontanez.
He recalled the night when a man came into the store with a gun, “saying, ‘Don’t move!’”
Fontanez did move. “I grabbed my gun.” He shot twice. The man dashed out.
Fontanez pushed his “panic button” and was amazed at how fast the police responded, he said. “The police were there so quickly!”
“They did a good job,” he said. “We’ve got to everybody thank them for that.”
Generoso said the suspects are being charged with numerous crimes, including assault, robbery, and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.
Rob It Again, Sam
Police say the pair robbed Sam’s Mart, at 14 Kimberly Ave., on four separate occasions. On Friday, the man who runs the store, who declined to give his name, said he is pleased the men have been arrested.
“It’s great,” he said. It makes him feel safer, he added.
The shopkeeper said he has only had the store since August, long enough to have it robbed only once by the two men. They took a few hundred dollars, he said.
“The police have done everything they can,” the shopkeeper said. Patrol officers regularly stop by to check in, he said.
The employee on duty at the time of the robbery was “traumatized” the shopkeeper said. The incident prompted him to upgrade the camera system and have more staffers working in the evening.
“You can replace money, but you can’t replace a person,” he said.
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