States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|May 6, 2011||
FEDERAL JURY FINDS SUFFIELD MAN GUILTY OF ROBBING BERLIN BANK
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that a federal jury in Hartford has found LUIS SOTO, 51, of Suffield, guilty of bank robbery. The trial began on April 28, and the jury returned its verdict today after deliberating for approximately four hours.
According to the evidence presented during the trial, on July 25, 2008, LUIS SOTO and his brother, Felix Soto, dressed in dark clothes and stocking masks and, armed with handguns, entered the Webster Bank at 40 Webster Square Road in Berlin, ordered patrons and employees to the ground, and robbed the bank of approximately $40,000. Witness testimony and video surveillance showed that during the course of the approximately three-minute robbery, Felix Soto continuously issued threats and pointed handguns at patrons, while LUIS SOTO leapt over the teller counter and forced a teller to empty cash into his duffle bag. Both LUIS SOTO and Felix Soto then ran out of the bank, through a wooded path next to the bank, and then into a getaway car parked on the side of Route 9, just short of the Mill Street exit.
The evidence also showed that LUIS SOTO and Felix Soto recruited two others to place separate “hoax” 911 calls that diverted police resources to a supposed home invasion in another part of Berlin.
In addition to witness testimony, the government offered extensive forensic evidence, including a hat and stocking mask that contained DNA from Felix and LUIS SOTO, as well as approximately $5,000 in stolen money, which were recovered by the Berlin Police along the escape route.
The government also presented cellular phone evidence, including reports of forensic examination of phones belonging to LUIS SOTO and Felix Soto, as well as call records and cell site data. The government presented the testimony of an expert in cellular site technology who used these cell site records to produce maps and charts showing that the participants in the robbery called one another extensively around the time of the robbery, while utilizing cellular towers within a short distance from the Webster Bank.
Chief United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson has scheduled sentencing for July 25, 2011, at which time SOTO faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
LUIS SOTO has two prior bank robbery convictions.
On April 14, 2010, Felix Soto pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery. He awaits sentencing.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Berlin and Windsor Police Departments. Expert testimony concerning DNA analysis was provided by the State of Connecticut’s Forensic Science Laboratory. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David E. Novick and Michael J. Gustafson.
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