A man identified by court officials as a retired New York City firefighter was accused Wednesday of being muscle in a Christmas Night home invasion on West Main Street.
Vito Badalamenti, 49, of Bridgeport, was charged with home invasion and conspiracy to commit home invasion.
He is the fourth suspect charged in the case, which police were tipped off to by clandestine social media messages sent by the alleged victim.
Police said the victim, a man, told them that, about 10:15 p.m. on Dec. 25, a woman he owed money to, Cassandra Vitali, and three men forced open the door of his home to collect the debt.
The suspects allegedly yelled at the victim to cough up the money he owed Vitali and ransacked his apartment.
The victim said he was terrified and messaged a friend on Facebook, during which another suspect, Sean Artis, allegedly said “I’m packing and if you call the police I’m going to kill you.”
The victim’s friend contacted police, who went to the home and found Vitali and Artis there.
Badalamenti and the fourth suspect, who has not been charged in the case, had left before police arrived to buy drugs, the victim told police.
Badalamenti was arraigned in Milford Superior Court Wednesday, where a public defender representing him said he retired from the FDNY after serving for 13 years.
A bail commissioner said Badalamenti has substance abuse issues and has lived in Brigdeport for the past six years, with convictions on his record, including larcenies, burglaries and skipping court dates.
Judge Donna Wilkerson Brillant ordered Badalamenti held in lieu of $350,000 bond and continued the case to June 5.
Charges against Vitali and Artis are pending.