News and Press Releases

MANCHESTER MAN SENTENCED TO 12 YEARS
IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR ROBBING BERLIN BANK

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2012

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that FELIX SOTO, 43, of Manchester, was sentenced yesterday, February 16, by Chief United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to 144 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for bank robbery.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on July 25, 2008, Felix Soto and his brother, Luis 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.  During 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.  The Soto brothers then exited the bank and ran through a wooded path next to the bank into a waiting getaway car that was parked on the side of Route 9, just short of the Mill Street exit.

The investigation revealed that Felix and Luis Soto recruited two others who, prior to the robbery, placed separate “hoax” 911 calls that diverted police resources to a supposed home invasion in another part of Berlin.

On April 14, 2010, Felix Soto pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery.

On May 6, 2011, a jury found Luis Soto guilty of the same charge.  During the trial, 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 Felix and Luis 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.

On August 25, 2011, Luis Soto also pleaded guilty to robbing a Citizens Bank branch in Higganum of $8,850 on August 18, 2008, and robbing a New Alliance Bank branch in Windsor of $50,786 on September 19, 2009.  The investigation has revealed that Felix Soto also participated in these two robberies.

On December 22, 2011, Luis Soto was sentenced to 180 months of imprisonment.This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Berlin and Windsor Police Departments.  DNA analysis was provided by the State of Connecticut’s Forensic Science Laboratory.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David E. Novick and Michael J. Gustafson.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONTACT:

U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722
thomas.carson@usdoj.gov

 

 

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