HARTFORD - A well-known pastor of a Hartford church is recovering in the hospital after being knocked unconscious on New Park Avenue in Hartford Saturday afternoon while attempting to conduct a transaction that began on Craigslist.
Luis Borges, 54, lead pastor of the First Assembly of God Church, a Pentecostal Portuguese-speaking church, sustained a head injury and was taken to Hartford Hospital, where he remained Sunday evening.
"He doesn`t remember much. He's in a lot of pain," said Kelia Alexandre, Borges' daughter.
Family members of Borges say he answered a Craigslist ad to purchase a $400 iPhone for a birthday present for his son Peter Borges, who turned 15 on Sunday.
"He just wanted to get something nice for me, something I`ve been asking for a while,"
Police say Borges met the suspects outside church on New Park Avenue, in a public place, on the sidewalk, to make the exchange around 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The pastor along with his son and 20 year daughter were attending a baby shower at the church at the time.
While the pastor ran home to get the money, his son Peter waited with the men for about 20 minutes before his father returned. Borges said he had no reason to fear anything would go wrong.
"We were just hanging out, talking about the phone," said Borges.
The pastor returned to the church, and as both parties exchanged the items, Police say a man in a grey sweatshirt took the money and iPhone, and a second man in a black sweatshirt ran up and punched Borges in the head, knocking him to the ground. Both ran off with the money and the phone and ran into a Chrysler Sebring, according to Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley.
"He hit his head really hard and he was knocked out, and then I started screaming," said Kelia Alexandre.
Paramedics arrived shortly after as
Borges' children said the pastor had the foresight to take a photo just before the assault took place.
"He said, this is the receipt for buying the phone. I don`t think they were paying attention to him, and you just hear the camera click, and then he just smacks him, and falls to the ground," said Peter Borges.
Hartford Police have identified this suspect in one of those photos.
A second suspect is described as a skinny black male, between 140 and 160 lbs, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black sneakers and black sweatpants.
The Hartford Police Department allows people a "safe point for social media transactions" including Craigslist, Foley said. Hartford is one of the only police departments to offer this service.
This change came after 39-year-old father Felix Dejesus was murdered trying to sell two T-Mobile tablets in Hartford in 2013.
“We’re one of the only police departments in the region offering our parking lot as a safe point for social media transactions,” said Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley on Twitter.