Two men in dark clothing, ski masks and ski goggles bound a New Britain bank manager and his mother in their Bristol home overnight Monday, then forced the man to wear what looked like a bomb and empty his bank vault, police said.
Police released more information about the case Tuesday and said two men with distinct accents confronted Matthew Yussman, 46, when he arrived home at 133 Lufkin Lane in Bristol early Monday morning and bound him and his 70-year-old mother.
When daylight broke, the two men forced Yussman to wear what appeared to be an explosive device and sent him to the Achieve Financial Credit Union in New Britain to take out money, police said in a news release Tuesday. Law enforcement sources previously identified him as the bank manager.
Police said they were alerted to the incident Monday morning when Yussman contacted an Achieve Financial official. The official, in turn, called 911.
Emergency responders arrived at the bank before Yussman and kept his car at the edge of the parking lot, according to New Britain police. Yussman never entered the building and did not take out any money.
Police worked to "render the device safe," then seized Yussman's car and brought him in handcuffs to the hospital for treatment of exposure.
Yussman's mother, Valarie, did not need medical assistance, and New Britain police said the FBI brought the device to a lab for analysis.
Investigators with a search warrant collected evidence from Yussman's home Monday night.
Police are now calling him a victim but said he is still being questioned and has not yet been ruled out as a suspect.
"Certainly, we're identifying any person that could be potentially involved in this, any and all, and we are very actively pursuing all leads," New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell explained Tuesday night.
He added that the incident was "very focused, very targeted" but said there is nothing to indicate Yussman and the suspects knew each other beforehand.
The New Britain States Attorney is overseeing the investigation of a joint New Britain-Bristol Task Force, which released information Tuesday about two suspects linked to the plot.
Police said one has a medium build and both speak with accents that indicate they are not Connecticut natives.
They were wearing dark clothing, ski masks and ski goggles and might have been in an older model white four-door Mazda, which police believe was in the area of Tunxis Mead and Route 10 in Farmington on Monday morning, police said.
Although suspects are still on the run, police said the public is not in any danger.
"It was a very personal connection there, we are finding through our investigation, and there is just nothing that we have uncovered that would lead us to believe the public is in any jeopardy," said Bristol Police Capt. Brain Gould.
The investigation prompted lockdowns at multiple schools in Avon, Bristol, Farmington and Plainville.
Avon Supt. Gary Mala wrote in a letter to parents that the lockdown was issued as a precaution because "the perpetrator of the Bristol incident was identified as traveling in Farmington at the time."
Law enforcement officials said they couldn't elaborate on the Farmington link.
"We are investigating information that there was some connection to Farmington, but that is still part of the investigation," said Gould.
The Achieve Financial Credit Union issued a statement Tuesday expressing relief over the fact that Yussman and his mother were not hurt.
"The Credit Union is fully cooperating with the police while they investigate the incident. We would like to apologize for any inconvenience this situation has caused our members and note that all of our credit union locations are back to full operation," bank officials said.
Police are asking anyone who spotted the Mazda or who lives in the area and has security cameras facing the road to contact authorities.
Residents can call New Britain police at 860-826-3131, the New Britain Police Tip Line at 860-826-3199, submit a tip online at newbritainpolice.org.
You can reach the Bristol Police Department at 860-314-4570.