Man robs animal hospital with a Wii controller

(Image: Vernon Police Department)

VERNON, Conn. (WTNH) — Vernon Police arrested Jason Rivera after he demanded painkillers from VCA Animal Hospital, wielding what officers later discovered to be a Wii remote.

On Wednesday at 1:42 p.m., dispatchers at the Vernon Police Department got a 911 call from employees at the VCA Animal Hospital on Talcottville Road, describing a man in all black and a black ski mask who had just run off after demanding pain medication. Although they believed the man was concealing a weapon under his sleeve, VCA employees told him they didn’t have any, and he fled toward Pleasantview Drive, they told police.

Police say that moments later, dispatchers got a second 911 call from “an alert resident” on Pleasantview, who saw a man running through yards, looking like he “had just done something.”

From there, Jason Rivera, 33, of South Windsor, fled into the woods, heading north along the Hockanum River. Police say that numerous Vernon police personnel arrived and began pursuing the suspect, setting up a perimeter. Sergeant Barry Foster found Rivera hiding in a field along the wood line, approximately a half mile from where the incident began, and promptly detained him.

A K-9 unit, Drago, aided in recovering any discarded evidence, locating a shirt and ski hat. Police say their investigation revealed Rivera was not armed with a handgun, but had covered a Wii controller in his sweatshirt sleeve to imply a handgun.

Rivera is being held at Vernon Police Headquarters in lieu of bond, and is due to appear in Rockville on Thursday to face robbery, criminal attempt to possess narcotics, and interfering with police charges.

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