Two Springfield men held without bail for alleged armed robbery in Florence

  • From left, Edwin J. Rivera-Cruz, 20, of Springfield, attorney Arlynn Henderson, Richard E. Santiago, 20, of Springfield, and attorney Jaime Rogers. GAZETTE STAFF/EMILY CUTTS

Monday, February 12, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — Two Springfield men are being held in jail pending a dangerousness hearing for their alleged involvement in an armed robbery in Florence.

Richard E. Santiago, 20, and Edwin J. Rivera-Cruz, 20, pleaded not guilty Monday in Northampton District Court to charges of armed robbery, larceny over $250, possession of a firearm in a felony, and two charges of assault with a dangerous weapon.

The men allegedly went to a home at 1368 Westhampton Road Sunday night to meet with people they had met online in a Facebook marijuana group. Santiago had arranged through Facebook to come to the home to buy marijuana, according to court documents.

Four people were at the home when Santiago and Rivera-Cruz arrived. The two began smoking with the group when Rivera-Cruz went to the bathroom and came out a short time later pointing a gun at everyone in the room and yelling “run your pockets or I’ll shoot you!,” according to court documents. Santiago allegedly also showed the group a gun.

Northampton Police Capt. John Cartledge said about $400 worth of marijuana, $200 worth of marijuana concentrate and $400 in cash was taken.

Santiago and Rivera-Cruz allegedly left the Westhampton Road residence in a silver Honda sedan. The residents called police shortly after 9:15 p.m. After a call went out to area departments, the Massachusetts State Police stopped a vehicle matching that description with an expired inspection sticker on Easthampton Road in Holyoke.

During the troopers’ investigation, Rivera-Cruz got out of the car and ran from police, according to court documents.

Inside the car, police found Santiago and another man, as well as the identification of a resident of the Westhampton Road residence. The third man in the car told police he knew that Santiago and Rivera-Cruz were going to rob a drug dealer and that they had guns, but there were no magazines inside the weapons, according to court documents.

Santiago told police he lifted his shirt to show off the gun, but did not point it at anyone, according to court documents. Police seized the vehicle to be searched at a later date.

In court Monday, Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Robert Opsitnick asked that both men be held without right to bail pending the dangerousness hearing. Judge W. Michael Goggins allowed the motion.

Rivera-Cruz also had his bail revoked in a case in Holyoke District Court. The case includes charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and assault and threat to commit a crime, Opsitnick said.

Both men will appear in court Thursday for the dangerousness hearing.

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.