NEW BRITAIN - Three teens have been arrested and charged in the brutal beating and robbery of a pizza delivery woman that blinded and maimed the victim.
The two male teens, ages 13 and 14, and a 16-year-old female, are accused of luring the victim into the area where the attack occurred. The victim is a well-known 45-year-old who for years has been delivering food part time for Royal Pizza in the Long Swamp Road area. She asked to be called “Dee” in published reports to conceal her identity, although she didn’t object to her photo being used.
Dee was found badly injured on Long Swamp Road by a passerby March 14. Emergency responders originally thought they were dealing with a fall victim, but a doctor recognized that she had been beaten and called police.
The 16-year-old lured the victim out with a food order, police Capt. Thomas Steck said Tuesday. Then the two teenage boys beat the woman in the head and robbed her of personal items. Detectives obtained arrest warrants for the teens, charging the 13-year-old Monday and the 14- and 16-year old Tuesday, after a school administrator reported a rumor about the incident to police.
“This person recognized that this was a community issue and larger than a school problem,” he said. The teens are being held at a juvenile detention center.
Dee’s life will be permanently altered by the attack, said her close friend, Sylvie, who also didn’t want her last name published for safety reasons. “It was horrible, it’s been a nightmare ever since it happened,” Sylvie said. “I can’t believe what she’s going through.”
It took almost seven hours of surgery to repair Dee’s face and she has permanently lost vision in one eye, Sylvie said. She is home from the hospital but spends a lot of time in bed because the loss of her vision has made her dizzy and unsteady on her feet, she added. “She’s hanging in there and doing what she is supposed to do,” Sylvie said. “The doctor told her that it would take time to get used to vision only in one eye.”
Sylvie described Dee as a fun-loving and generous person who was always helping people out. “It doesn’t make any sense to see her go through this,” she said. “She’s always been such an on the go, loving person.” Friends have started a Gofundme page to help with medical expenses at www.gofundme.com/dee-p-medicalhealing-expenses .
Dee was well known in the community in her role as a part-time delivery person for Royal Pizza, store employees said. “She is like family,” said Belbir Singh, who works at the restaurant. “She’s a very nice lady, I like her a lot,” Singh said. “The people who did this are very bad.”
At least one of the accused teens lives in the Long Swamp Road neighborhood, Steck said.
Police were able to piece together the circumstances of the beating and robbery through social media, tips and contacts in the New Britain school system where all three attend school.
Each teen was charged with first-degree assault, first-degree robbery, sixth-degree larceny and conspiracy to each count. The two teenage boys cannot be prosecuted as adults because they are under the age of 15, according to New Britain State’s Attorney Brian Preleski. Due to their ages, police and court staff cannot reveal their names or give any information about their pending court cases.
Dee has the support of her family and friends who have rallied to help her, Sylvie said, but the arrests are a small solace compared to the pain that Dee and her family have endured after the attack.
“Whoever did this did change her life forever,” Sylvie said. “One minute she left home fine to go to work and next thing you know we’re getting called to come to the hospital.”
Anyone with information on the case should call the New Britain Police Department at 860-826-3000. Anonymous tips can be left on the Community Tip Line at 860-826-3199 or online at www.newbritainpolice.org .