The man accused of breaking into a home on New Britain Avenue in West Hartford and assaulting an elderly resident who caught him rifling through her drawers appeared in court on Wednesday.
Luis M. Ortiz, 29, is charged with home invasion, first-degree burglary, third-degree robbery, sixth-degree larceny, assault of an elderly person, third-degree criminal mischief and interfering with an officer.
He's accused of breaking into the home of two elderly residents on New Britain Avenue across from Westfarms Mall around 2 p.m. Tuesday, then chasing and assaulting the woman when she caught him digging through the contents of an upstairs bureau.
"I'm mad," said the victim, identified only as Estelle. "I'm very angry... that that man came into my home, but I'm fine."
Estelle said she was in the bathroom and her husband was mowing the lawn when the intruder entered their home. He reportedly got in by pushing out the screen to the back door and turning keys that had been left in the lock.
"I looked at him and said, 'Who the hell are you?'" she explained.
West Hartford police said Ortiz attacked her when Estelle tried to get away.
"She turned and ran," said West Hartford police Lt. Stephen Estes. "He chased her through the house, grabbed her and threw her into a table. He stole some items and from there he fled the residence, and that's when the foot chase started."
Estelle said she ran outside to her husband, who was mowing the lawn, and called 911.
Ortiz reportedly led officers into Newington, where he was taken into custody on the busway from New Britain to Hartford about an hour later, according to police and NBC Connecticut crews at the scene.
"They took me in the cruiser down to where they were holding him and I identified him," Estelle said, "because I had looked at him full in the face!"
Ortiz was transported to the West Hartford police barracks. He appeared in court on Wednesday and bond was set at $500,000 because of prior convictions for similar crimes.
Police are holding on to the cash and jewelry he allegedly stole to use it as evidence.
"I don't care how long they keep it," Estelle said, "as long as they have him and he's behind bars, and he's not going to hurt anybody and get into anybody else's house."
Police from Newington and Farmington helped in the manhunt.
It comes a week after a series of residential burglaries in town had residents on high alert. Police are investigating to determine whether Ortiz may be connected to those incidents as well.
The investigation is ongoing. Ortiz is due back in court on July 11.