A dye pack that exploded and essentially destroyed the $2,500 in cash stolen during a Thursday robbery of the Webster Bank in Waterbury was likely what led Shane Parsons to allegedly commit a second bank robbery in his hometown of Newtown later that same day, police said.
It was apparently his third bank heist in a week, officials said.
On Thursday, as Parsons ran toward the getaway car away from the Webster Bank he was accused of robbing, the dye pack the teller had snuck into the cash prior to turning over the money exploded, foiling the robbery attempt, police said.
"We think that's why they went straight down to Newtown," Waterbury police Lt. Christopher Corbett said of Parsons and Carl Valluzzo, whom police accuse of being the getaway car driver.
The Waterbury robbery was at about 10 a.m., Thursday. At 11:30 a.m., Parsons allegedly walked into the Newtown Savings Bank on Main Street and passed a note demanding money, police said.
About six hours later, Parsons, 36, and Valluzo, 37, formerly of Bethel were in custody.
The two were arraigned Friday in state Superior Court in Waterbury and each held on $300,000 bond.
Parsons was charged with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, larceny and conspiracy to commit robbery while Valluzzo was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit larceny.
Locally, Parsons also is wanted in connection with a string of at least six burglaries in Newtown and one in Brookfield. In Westchester County, he is wanted on a criminal possession of stolen property charge. Those offenses were allegedly committed from March through May.
In the Waterbury and Naugatuck area, Parsons recently emerged as a suspect after he allegedly tried to burglarize a home in Middlebury on June 12 but was interrupted by the homeowner, Corbett said.
On Tuesday, Parsons, who apparently has a drug addiction, family and friends have told police, allegedly moved from trying to burglarize homes to robbing banks, officials said. He is accused of walking into the Naugatuck Savings Bank on Church Street in Naugatuck, passing a note that said he had a gun and demanding money, police said.
Parsons allegedly tried to do the same on Thursday at the Webster Bank on Highland Avenue in Waterbury but in that case the teller put a dye pack in with the cash. Also, a man who was in the bank at the same time as Parsons overheard the teller say something about getting robbed, which apparently prompted him to chase after Parsons, police said.
Although the bank customer stopped the chase after the dye pack exploded and sent a red plume of smoke into the air, he was still able to take note of the license plate of the car Parsons allegedly climbed into, police said. The car, a green Saturn, was registered to Valluzzo.
Parsons and Valluzzo, whose only criminal record is a 1996 conviction for third-degree assault, apparently had recently met each other in Danbury, Waterbury police said.
"They met each other at a homeless shelter in Danbury a few months ago," Corbett said.
The only connection police have made with why the pair chose Waterbury was that Valluzzo has an ex-wife who lives in the city, Corbett said.
Police won't say how but following the bank robbery, they were able to locate Parsons, Valluzzo and the green Saturn at the Sunnyside Inn in Bridgeport. The pair was there with a third man, whom they had apparently picked up after allegedly committing the robberies, police said.
The arrests were made without incident, Corbett said. Parsons, Valluzzo and the other man apparently were just sitting in the motel room surrounded by proceeds from the Newtown heist, Corbett said.
The third man was not charged with any crimes and Parsons and Valluzzo apparently gave police statements admitting to committing the robberies, officials said.
A mental health evaluation has been ordered for Valluzzo and both are expected to appear in state Superior Court in Waterbury on June 30. Parsons is to be assigned a public defender.
Meanwhile, Naugatuck police have issued an arrest warrant for the pair in connection with the Naugatuck Savings Bank robbery while Newtown is preparing the same for the Main Street hold-up.