NEW BRITAIN - The man accused of attempting to rob a New Britain Herald employee at gunpoint Friday was ordered to be held on $500,000 bond Monday.
Secundino Velazquez, 49, of Richard Street, received the order from Judge Vernon Oliver during his arraignment in New Britain Superior Court. He is charged with first-degree attempt to commit robbery and second-degree attempt to commit larceny in the incident.
Velazquez has arrests out of New Britain and Puerto Rico, the bail commissioner said during his arraignment, but it was not immediately clear what the nature of the charged were. He has a previous conviction for possession and sale of narcotics, according to the warrant.
State Prosecutor Mary Rose Palmese said during the court appearance the charges against Velazquez involved “extremely serious allegations.”
Public defender Chester Fernandez, who represented Velazquez, requested a referral for a mental health and substance abuse program because of possible substance abuse issues with him and detox attention for while he is in custody.
Velazuez allegedly went up to the New Britain Herald employee, whose identity is being withheld to protect her as a victim, on Court Street around 1 p.m. and pressed a gun against her back before demanding money, the employee said.
The employee was returning to her car after getting lunch from Mofongo when he approached her. She then took off running from the suspect and lost her shoes in the process. The suspect fled the scene on a bike as the employee immediately reported the incident to police, she said.
According to the warrant for Velasquez’ arrest, a witness to the event went to police and told them a similar breakdown of what happened. Police went to the area of where the incident happened and located a pair of shoes.
Police began investigating and pulled a photo of the possible suspect from several surveillance cameras that are downtown and monitored by the City of New Britain, the warrant continued. On Saturday, police released a photo of the suspect, and then received an anonymous tip identifying the suspect as Velazquez.
Police went back to the Herald employee in an attempt to identify Velazquez as the suspect, but she was unable to, the warrant said. Police then went to the address of Velazquez to locate him and found him hiding in a closet on the second floor. This was after his girlfriend initially told police she couldn’t find him, but allowed police to enter the place anyway.
When talking to police, who noticed inside the residence a mountain bike that matched a still image of what the suspect used during the robbery attempt, Velazquez admitted to committing the crime, the warrant said. Police also saw a hat in the residence that matched what the suspect was wearing during the crime.
Velazquez added he attempted to rob the suspect so he could get money to get methadone on the streets, because he woke up that morning feeling like he wanted to get off heroin, the warrant said.
Velazquez also said the gun he used in the attempt was a toy one and that he threw it by the railroad track near Washington Street over the fence. It was not clear if police recovered the toy gun or not.
Velasquez is due back in New Britain Superior Court on Aug. 26.
Staff Writer Adam Hushin contributed to this story.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.