SOUTHINGTON - A Naugatuck man has been sentenced to just over two years in prison for robbing a Southington bank and leading police on a 20-mile chase.
David Latino, 45, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of third-degree robbery on Tuesday in Bristol Superior Court. In exchange, charges of fourth-degree larceny, reckless driving and engaging police in pursuit were dropped.
Latino was sentenced to two years and one day in prison.
According to police, on Dec. 12, 2016, at about 9:50 a.m., Latino went into the TD Bank, located at 121 Main St., and handed the teller a note, which asked for money. He left the bank with cash that was baited with a GPS tracking device, police said. No injuries were reported.
Driving an SUV, police said, Latino got onto Route 8 and the vehicle was later disabled by stop sticks that were put in place by a state trooper in Naugatuck. Latino then ran into the Naugatuck River and was taken into custody in the Naugatuck State Forest.
Ronald Dearstyne, state prosecutor, noted during the sentencing hearing that, while Latino was being held in custody immediately after the robbery, he was heard by authorities admitting he had robbed TD bank and speculated that he would be looking at 20 years in prison. One reason he’s not facing time like that, Dearstyne said, is because he was found not competent enough to understand the proceedings against him for some time, before his competency was restored.
Additionally, the prosecutor said, the TD Bank robbery did not involve a weapon or any threats. The note simply asked for money. While the teller who was handed the note was understandably scared, Dearstyne continued, other people in the bank did not even know a robbery had happened until after Latino left the building. This also contributed to a prison sentence lighter than what Latino expected.
“So I guess two years and a day is looking pretty good,” Dearstyne said.
“He realizes he got a generous offer here,” said Alfonzo Sirica, Latino’s attorney, adding that he believes the disposition is a “fair” resolution to the case.
When asked if he wished to speak at the sentencing, Latino told the presiding judge, “I’m sorry.”
Latino’s previous criminal history includes convictions of assault on a police officer, custody escape, violation of a protective order and other offenses.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.