Police arrested Thomas Felder Thursday for a Nov. 22 street robbery of two people, one of whom was a University graduate student, Yale Police Chief James Perrotti said.
Police allege that Felder, 29, of 165 Starr St., New Haven, came up behind a man and woman walking near the Esplanade Apartments on Prospect Street and pushed an unknown object into the man’s back, demanding his wallet. The man complied, and the robber fled the scene of the crime on foot, a New Haven Police Department press release said. No weapon was seen during the crime.
Felder was formally arrested on charges of robbery in the second degree and larceny in the second degree at the New Haven Superior Court yesterday, University Police Lt. Michael Patten said. He was being held by police in Bridgeport on an unrelated crime at the time the warrant was approved by a judge last Friday, Perrotti said.
University police detectives worked on the case with the NHPD robbery unit. The investigation of the robbery led detectives to a vacant home on Sheffield Avenue, where police found personal property taken in several recent street robberies, the NHPD said.
Further investigation led police to Felder, who has previous convictions for robbery and larceny, Perrotti said.
“Once we developed the name, and [we] saw what was on his record, the detectives felt strongly that they had a very good lead,” Perrotti said.
Police eventually compiled enough evidence for probable cause and asked a judge to sign an arrest warrant, Perrotti said. The judge assigned the warrant a $75,000 bond, which Perrotti said was a sign that the case against Felder was strong.
“He’s in [jail]. He’s going to stay in,” Perrotti said.
The NHPD said other charges against Felder may be forthcoming.
“We believe that he has been involved in other robberies,” Perrotti said.”There had been a similar robbery the day before.”
Both Perrotti and New Haven Police Chief Francisco Ortiz praised the work of their officers during the investigation and the cooperation between the two departments.
The arrest comes on the heels of rising concern about robbery on campus and a rise in robberies citywide in 2003. Yesterday, students living in the Cambridge Oxford Apartments at 32 High Street were informed of an attempted robbery of an undergraduate that occurred early Thursday morning outside the building.
This semester, University police reactivated the undercover street crime unit, a pair of plainclothes officers who patrol campus in an unmarked car, mainly to combat crime against Yale students. The unit, which had not been used in several years, was deployed after an armed robbery on Old Campus Dec. 18 and other armed robberies earlier in the year.
Undercover officers were dispatched to the area around Prospect Street following the robbery Nov. 22, Perrotti said, but the major leads in the case were developed without the plainclothes patrol, Perrotti said.