Fugitive Defreitas Arrested in Putnam Crime Spree

Additional charges lodged

Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith reports the arrest of a 29-year-old man wanted on a parole violation warrant from North Carolina and having ties with Putnam County, who is suspected of being responsible for committing several violent felony crimes throughout the county over the past two months.

During that period of time, investigators from the Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation had investigated two residential burglaries occurring in Putnam Lake, an attempted armed robbery of the A&P food store in Southeast and an armed robbery of the Putnam County National Bank in Carmel. Their investigation pointed to Kenneth W. Defreitas of Wilmington, North Carolina, who had previously lived in Putnam Lake, as the suspect in each of these crimes.

Investigators obtained an arrest warrant charging Defreitas with robbery in the first degree, a Class B violent felony, in connection with the bank robbery. They put out a nationwide bulletin for his arrest to police agencies and checked several areas in Putnam and Dutchess counties as well as nearby Connecticut and the Bronx.

On July 3, members of the New York City Police Department’s Bronx Narcotics Bureau located Defreitas near Hoffman Street in the Bronx. They took him into custody and held him for sheriff’s investigators.

Investigators responded to the 48th Precinct, arrested Defreitas and returned him to Putnam County. In addition to the bank robbery charge, he was charged with two counts of burglary in the second degree and one count of attempted robbery in the first degree. He was arraigned before Carmel Town Justice Joseph Spofford and remanded to the Putnam County Correctional Facility without bail pending a future court appearance.

Once the arraignment hearing was concluded, and investigators were escorting Defreitas back to the police car, Defreitas grabbed the gun of one of the investigators attempting to remove it from the officer’s holster. A struggle ensued but Defreitas was subdued. No one was injured however additional charges of attempted escape in the first degree and attempted criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree were lodged.

The violation of parole arrest warrant issued by North Carolina officials was lodged with the correctional facility. Law enforcement authorities from Connecticut and Westchester County also suspect Defreitas of committing residential burglaries in their jurisdictions.

Sheriff Smith praised his investigators for a job well done saying, “Our investigators have done an outstanding job developing the cases in each of these crimes leading to the arrest of Mr. Defreitas. My gratitude also goes out to the narcotics officers of NYPD’s Bronx Narcotics Bureau for their assistance in apprehending this individual and helping remove a suspected violent felon before he could affect more victims in our community.”

NOTE: A charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


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