10/20/2006

4 surrender after Conn. standoff

Aaron Leo
Connecticut Post Online
Copyright 2006 MediaNews Group, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

BRIDGEPORT- Four people sought for questioning in connection with four recent bank robberies barricaded themselves in a Hazelwood Avenue home for 40 minutes Wednesday evening before surrendering peacefully to authorities.

The people -- a married couple, along with another man and woman -- were taken in handcuffs to the Detective Bureau after individually walking out of the house around 6:30 p.m., said Lt. James Viadero, police spokesman.

Ron Aponte, identified by police as the last man to leave the house, repeatedly told officers, "You can shoot me, I don't give a [expletive]."

Aponte, 38, who Viadero said was staying at the house, was charged with two counts of first-degree robbery for the two Bridgeport heists, and breach of peace and interfering with police for the standoff, the spokesman said.

The robberies took place Oct. 10 at the Chase Bank on State Street and on Oct. 6 at a Bank of America branch on East Main Street.

Bridgeport police will turn Aponte over to Fairfield police, Viadero said.

A Fairfield police spokesperson could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Fairfield and Bridgeport police went to the home near Laurel Avenue as part of their investigations into the two bank robberies in Fairfield and two in Bridgeport.

The four tried to leave when police arrived at 5:50 p.m., but ducked back into the house and refused to come out, Viadero said.

Both women and a man walked out of the home after police surrounded it with guns drawn and Bridgeport Sgt. Kevin Gilleran spoke with them through a megaphone. These three were not charged and not identified by police.

Aponte, however, had a condition for leaving.

"I've got to talk to my wife for 10 minutes," the man shouted. "I'm not going to leave until I talk to my wife."

Officers allowed the woman to talk to him from the street.

"Baby, come out, they're going to send the dog in there," she said. "I'm right here; I love you. Please come out."

When he emerged through the front door at about 6:30 p.m., he lay on the ground and was handcuffed.

Police closed off the road from Laurel Avenue and evacuated several neighboring homes.

Viadero praised Gilleran's performance and both departments' handling of the situation.

"It was a potentially volatile situation. It came to a safe conclusion," he said.

Earlier in the day, Fairfield police said a woman accompanied a man who robbed two banks in their town, Fairfield County Savings Bank on Tunxis Hill Road on Tuesday and a People's Bank branch on Villa Avenue last Friday.

The same woman was seen in both banks' security videotapes. Police did not say what role she played.

The woman accompanied a 35- to 40-year-old man who fled with an undisclosed amount of money from both banks, Fairfield Lt. Michael Walsh said.

The robber used a note demanding money but no weapon was shown.

Connecticut Post writer Andrew Brophy contributed to this report.

Aaron Leo, who covers regional issues, can be reached at 330-6222. 

 

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