A man charged with trying to rob an Enfield Mall jewelry store Sunday confessed to authorities that he was also involved in nine armed robberies in the area, police said.
Jeffrey Hluchnik, 42, of Enfield, who waived his right to be present at his arraignment Wednesday at the advice of his attorney, did not appear in the courtroom but listened to the proceedings in the adjacent room at Enfield Superior Court.
Carrying a "realistic looking air pistol," Hluchnik walked into Furnari Jewelry Store at 90 Elm Street in Enfield on Sunday morning and demanded money and jewelry, according to police.
"He threatened to kill me and I just knew I had to fight," storeowner Joseph Furnari said.
A bloody spot on the carpet at Furnari's Jewelery Store shows where Hluchnik's alleged two-month crime spree came to an end. That's because Hluchnik demanded the diamonds in this case after Furnari gave him the gold he demanded.
"His attention went off of me and started looking at the diamonds...like he just hit the jackpot," Furnari said.
That's when Furnari says he hit Hluchnik and kept hitting him until police arrived and took him into custody. The mug shot of Hluchnik shows his battered face from the altercation. He was taken to the hospital after the incident to be treated for his injuries.
In court Wednesday, the judge referred to the attempted robbery of the jewelry store as "terrifying" and ordered him to be held on a $500,000 bond.
Police said that Hluchnik also confessed to authorities that he was involved in six other armed robberies in Enfield, two in East Windsor and one in Suffield at restaurants, stores and a gas station, police said.
The first armed robberies happened at the Dollar Store in East Winsor and Dunkin Donuts in Enfield on March 23, followed by Great Wall Restaurant in Enfield and Valero Gas Station in Suffield a few days later. On May 19, Bedding Barn, Northern Light Shop and Steve's Seafood were robbed at gunpoint. Days before the attempted jewelry store robbery in Enfield, Smoker's Discount Tobacco in East Winsor and Enfield Inn were also hit with armed robberies. Police believe Hluchnik is connected to those incidents.
Police expect to charge with most of the other crimes on Thursday.
As for his most recent charges, the case has been transferred to Hartford, where he'll appear in court again on June 10.