UConn Professor Arrested for Bad Joke

Police said he threatened to rob a jewelry store.

A UConn professor has been arrested for what his attorney is calling a joke, albeit a bad one.

Alexandru Dragos Asandei, 43, of Vernon, went into Lux Bond & Green at Evergreen Walk with his wife on Thursday to have her ring appraised and browse in the store. As he spoke with a clerk, he said he was there “to rob the store,” according to South Windsor Police.

Asandei, an associate professor of chemistry at UConn, meant it as a joke and there was no unusual reaction to the statement, his attorney said. So, Asandei was shocked when police tracked him down inside Barnes and Noble at Buckland Hills Mall at 7:30 p.m. and arrested him on a breach of peace charge and held him over night.

The district attorney acknowledged in court that this was just a bad joke.

Asandei is "profoundly remorseful if his comment caused any alarm," his attorney said.

The state asked that Asandei be released on promise to appear in court on June 3 because he has no criminal record and he's a college professor. However, he must stay away from Evergreen Walk.

The arrest happened just before UConn students began finals, which start next week.

Asandei complained about jail conditions and said people are way too sensitive these days. He feels everyone overreacted.

After the court appearance, an attorney said the only reason Asandei’s case wasn't thrown out on Friday was because prosecutors wanted to review surveillance tape as a formality.

Asandei was charged with second-degree breach of peace and was held on a $50,000 surety bond. 

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