New Britain Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Offenses Stemming from Robbery and Carjacking Spree

New Britain Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Offenses Stemming from Robbery and Carjacking Spree

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and David Sundberg, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that CHRISTIAN LUIS VELEZ-RUIZ, 25, of New Britain, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Sarala V. Nagala in Hartford to federal robbery, carjacking, and firearm offenses.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in a crime spree spanning from September 2021 into December 2021, Velez committed 28 armed robberies of convenience stores and six armed carjackings, among other offenses, throughout Connecticut.  He continued committing the robberies after the FBI’s announcement of a $25,000 reward in November 2021 for information leading to Velez’s arrest and conviction.

On December 17, 2021, law enforcement located Velez in his vehicle in a parking lot in New Britain.  Velez attempted to escape by ramming police vehicles and he ultimately fled on foot.  A K9 pursuit ensued, and Velez was captured after he attempted to steal another vehicle.  He has been detained since his arrest.

Velez, who has taken responsibility for all of the offenses he committed during his crime spree, pleaded guilty to one count of carjacking, two counts of interference with commerce by robbery, and two counts of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.  The carjacking occurred on September 2, 2021, when Velez stole at gunpoint a 2020 white Jeep Grand Cherokee from the driveway of a victim in Southington.  One of the robberies occurred on September 26, 2021, when Velez robbed at gunpoint a store located at a Sunoco gas station in Bristol.  Velez pistol-whipped the store employee and stole U.S. currency and cigarettes from the store.  The other robbery occurred on October 7, 2021, when Velez robbed at gunpoint a store located at a Citgo gas station in Southington.  Velez brandished a pistol at the store employee and stole cash and cigarettes from the store.

Judge Nagala scheduled sentencing for March 24, at which time Velez faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 14 years and a maximum term of life imprisonment.

This matter is being investigated by the FBI, the Connecticut State Police, the Greater Hartford Regional Auto Theft Task Force, and the New Britain, Waterbury, Berlin, Bristol, Cromwell, East Hartford, Enfield, Farmington, Glastonbury, Manchester, Meriden, Middletown, Newington, Norwich, Plainville, Southington, Windsor, Wolcott, and Woodbridge Police Departments.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Ruff.

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