Lehigh Valley

Bethlehem man arrested in connection to 2016 armed robbery

Police said 3 men held up Allentown market

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Investigators said a Bethlehem man suspected in a 2016 armed robbery was spotted in the store on surveillance video, his face uncovered, about a half hour before the crime.

David J. Velasco, of Fritz Drive, was arraigned Tuesday morning on felony counts of robbery and conspiracy and misdemeanor counts of simple assault and theft in connection with the holdup of Jong’s Market in Allentown last summer. District Judge Rod Beck set bail at $100,000.

Allentown police responded to the market in the 400 block of Liberty Street shortly after 3 p.m. July 18, 2016, to investigate an armed robbery. Police said three people entered the store with their faces covered and that the man brandishing a handgun used it to strike the victim in the face, according to court records.

The robbers stole about $200 from the register and four cartons of Newport cigarettes.

The store’s video surveillance showed one man wearing gray sneakers, black socks, gray shorts, a gray tank top, necklace and a blue t-shirt partially covering his face with a dark baseball cap, according to records. Investigators said he initially stood watch at the door before grabbing packs of cigarettes that he first covers with his shirt before putting them in a red backpack carried by another robber.

Video surveillance showed the trio entering the store about 2:36 p.m. Authorities said the video also showed the man who stood watch walking into the store at 2:01 p.m. wearing the same outfit.

The only difference being the blue shirt covering his face was hanging around his neck, offering investigators a clear look at him, according to records.

Police eventually identified Velasco as a suspect. Authorities filed charges about a month after the robbery and issued a warrant for the now 28-year-old.

Velasco failed to post bail and was sent to Lehigh County Jail to await a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 25.


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