By Joe Bachman
Two men have been charged with the armed robbery and assault of a Seneca man.
According to police reports, on Jan. 31 officers were sent out to an residence regarding the robbery and assault of a Seneca man. The man was found with his hands restrained behind his back with a black electrical cord, and noted that his face was swollen, bruised, and contained multiple abrasions.
According to the complainant, he was out drinking with 44-year-old Kendrick Gatlin, of Berlin, and 23-year-old Emilio Velez-Ortiz, of Milwaukee (mugshot not available) on that night. They returned to his residence between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.
After some time had passed watching television, Velez-Ortiz left the room and then allegedly came back with a pair of handcuffs and stated “now we’re going to have some fun.” At this point, Ortiz forced the man onto his stomach and handcuffed him behind his back.
The three would start to argue as the complainant told the defendants that the handcuffs were too tight. Gatlin and Ortiz responded by slapping the defendant in the face multiple times. Gatlin then allegedly took out a knife and threatened that he would kill the victim.
Soon after, he overheard one of the men state “let’s go get the TV” right before he started to pass out. The complainant could remember Gatlin and Ortiz speaking to each other, but could not see them.
The complainant woke up in the kitchen and went for help after being unable to remove his bindings. Taken from the home was a laptop, jewelry, clothes, a cell phone, a watch, and a television. The approximate value for the stolen items amounted to $2,945.
Earlier that night, the three stopped at a gas station ATM to pull out money which investigators used to identify the suspects from video surveillance. Police were then tipped off later to the whereabouts of Gatlin and Ortiz, who were located in Milwaukee.
If convicted, Gatlin faces up to 50 years imprisonment and up to $150,000 in fines for charges of armed robbery, battery, false imprisonment, and theft. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 24.
Velez-Ortiz faces up to 25 years imprisonment and up to $70,000 in fines for robbery with use of force, false imprisonment, theft, and battery. Future court dates are pending.