EAST GRANBY--A West Hartford financial planner and father of three has been arrested in connection to two bank robberies in East Granby.
On January 27 a white man dressed in all black robbed the The First National Bank of Suffield, located at 3A Turkey Hills Road in East Granby. On February 8 there was another robbery at the bank, and people who witnessed both incidents said the suspect appeared to be the same person in each robbery.
Police later identified the suspect as Kevin Baker, 45, of West Hartford.
According to his wife, Kati, the couple was having severe financial problems. After Baker was laid off from his job and started his own financial planning firm, the couple accumulated about $120,000 in debt--including back taxes--and were receiving shut-off notices for utilities. They were also having trouble affording the more-than $5,000 in mortgage payments they had each month, and the $1,200 he paid for rent for his business.
Another issue that the warrant indicates precipitated the robberies was an addiction to Oycotin that Baker developed after four spinal surgeries in 2011.
The first robbery occurred on January 27, around 3:50 p.m. A lone white male entered the front door of the bank and jumped over the teller counter while brandishing a knife. He said "I don't want to hurt anyone" and "give me your 100s," and took money.
In all, he took nearly $16,000.
Witnesses said he left in a black Chevrolet Equinox, and had been wearing all black, including black gloves, a knit cap, sunglasses and a neck gaiter pulled up to his sunglasses.
Witnesses described him as around 6 foot, 210 pounds with salt-and-pepper hair.
Then, on February 8 at 10:50 a.m., another robbery occurred at the same bank. The suspect was wearing similar clothing and gear, and looked like the same man.
He too brandished a knife after jumping over the counter and said, "let's do this again, you know the drill" and "all large bills."
He drove off in large shiny black SUV with more than $14,500.
Several 911 calls were made in the area about a black Chevy Tahoe driving fast, and several police departments pursued him, but he was not captured that day.
Based on witness statements and DMV records, police developed Kevin Baker as a suspect. In his name he had had registrations for a black Chevy Tahoe LTZ and a dark blue Chevy Equinox.
Several friends and acquaintances also recognized Baker from surveillance photos released after the robberies, and one friend called police after Kati Baker confided in her that she thought her husband had robbed a bank.
When police interviewed Kati, she told them all the details of their financial problems, and that her husband had even traded her wedding band at Becker's for a cubic zirconium ring, which netted him $4,800 to pay off some debts.
Baker has been charged with two counts of robbery in the first degree and two counts of larceny in the second degree.
Since his arrest, friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help the family, who has "been completely caught off guard by this situation," according to the page.
In just one day friends and strangers donated more than $23,000. The funds raised will go to "groceries, utilities, household supplies, whatever it takes to manage for the next few months."