NEW HAVEN — The office of U.S. Attorney John H. Durham on Friday announced the arrest of a couple who authorities believe robbed five Connecticut gas stations, including one in Southington last month.
William Rosario Lopez, 34, of New Haven, and Solimar Rodriguez Gonzalez, 19, of New Britain, face federal charges related to the allegations.
The pair's court appearance was videoconferenced. Rosario Lopez, a felon with a long list of prior convictions, remains in custody while Gonzalez was released after posting bond, a news release by Durham's office said.
Prosecutors said the string of robberies began on March 18, when Rosario Lopez is alleged to have entered a Shell Gas Station in Vernon wearing a black mask.
According to the allegations, Rosario Lopez pointed a small pistol at an employee, grabbed him by the collar and struck him in the back of the head. The employee opened the register and handed Rosario Lopez $1,188 in cash. Rosario Lopez then ordered the employee to lay on the floor and fled, prosecutors allege.
Four nights later, Rosario Lopez allegedly walked into the Fleet Gas Station at 1611 Meriden Waterbury Turnpike in Southington.
This time wearing a surgical mask, Rosario Lopez pointed a pistol at an employee, again demanding money. The employee handed Rosario Lopez roughly $200.
That same night, an hour later, Rosario Lopez allegedly entered a Waterbury gas station in similar fashion, walking out with $500.
Prosecutors allege he walked into another gas station in Ansonia just a few hours later. He fired his gun in the store when an employee was unable to open the cash register drawer quickly enough, Durham's office said. No one was injured.
Three nights later, Rosario Lopez allegedly committed a similar robbery at a Citgo Gas Station in New Britain, where he made off with $250.
Prosecutors allege Gonzalez acted as a “lookout” during at least two of the robberies.
Investigators recovered a .25 caliber semiautomatic pistol and 14 rounds of ammunition from a car reportedly used by the pair.
Both Rosario Lopez and Gonzalez have been charged with federal Hobbs Act Robbery and conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery. If convicted, those charges carry a maximum prison term of 20 years for each count.
Rosario Lopez faces further charges, including brandishing a firearm and discharging a firearm during a robbery. He also faces a possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon charge.