On the afternoon of July 25, 2008, headquarters received a 911 call reporting a home invasion on Grapevine Lane. Several minutes later, headquarters received an alarm notification that the Webster Bank on Webster Square Rd. was reporting an armed robbery. It was later learned that the home invasion call was a diversionary tactic employed by the robbery suspects, in an attempt to delay police resources from quickly responding to the armed robbery.
The bank had, in fact, been robbed by two masked gunmen carrying semi-automatic pistols who stole nearly $50,000 in cash. Sergeant Lentini and Detective Kostka were assigned to conduct the ongoing investigation with the State’s Attorneys’ Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation and other state and local law enforcement agencies.
On the morning of August 22, 2008, the same Webster Bank branch office was robbed again with the armed robbers using the same method of operation including the location of the get-away car.
Sgt. Lentini and Detective Kostka worked diligently and tirelessly for more than six months investigating the robberies. They pored over thousands of cell phone numbers, conducted hundreds of interviews, conducted hours of surveillance and wrote volumes of reports. Two brothers were identified as suspects who committed the robberies in conspiracy with four other suspects, who played different rolls during the robbery spree that included bank robberies in Windsor, Higganum and Vernon. Through the relentless efforts of Sgt. Lentini and Detective Kostka, Felix and Luis Soto were convicted in 2011, in United States Federal Court, for committing the bank robberies in Berlin, Windsor, Higganum and Vernon.
In recognition of their performance of duties in this case, Sergeant Todd Lentini and Officer Steven Kostka were awarded the Department Service Award.