Two men charged with robbing a man at knifepoint Sunday night on Railroad Avenue pleaded not guilty to felony charges in Riverhead Town court Monday morning.
Town Justice Allen Smith set bail at $5,000 for Antonio Chin, 31, and Jaime Xiquin-Valdez, 26, at their Monday arraignment.
Both men, who are living in the country illegally, denied the allegations against them in court.
Mr. Chin’s attorney, Eileen Powers, said her client had interacted with the alleged victim but never robbed him.
“It wasn’t a robbery,” she said. “It was a dispute between two men.”
Lane Bubka, Mr. Xiquin-Valdez’s attorney, said his client has never met the victim and was wrongfully accused. Instead, he said Mr. Xiquin-Valdez was out drinking and was then arrested by police.
“He has no idea who this [man] is,” Mr. Bubka said. “No evidence has been put forth yet.”
Riverhead police said the alleged robbery occurred in the area just after 10 p.m. Police arrived on the scene and found the victim, a 24-year-old Riverhead man who told police he had just been robbed by two Hispanic males who took his wallet.
A search of the area found two men on Osborn Avenue who fit the description given by the victim and were later identified by him.
At the arraignment Monday, Assistant District Attorney Sean McDonnell said Mr. Xiquin-Valdez held a knife to the alleged victim’s neck and demanded $300.
Mr. Xiquin-Valdez, a Flanders resident who has worked as a construction worker for two years, appeared in handcuffs and a yellow jumpsuit. He said through an interpreter that he came to the country from Guatemala in 2007 but does not have a green card.
Mr. Chin, who has worked as a landscaper for eight years, told the judge through an interpreter that he’s spent the past 10 years in the Riverhead-Flanders-Southampton area but has been homeless for three days.
He also said he has lived in the United States since 2005 without a residency permit. Mr. McDonnell said Mr. Chin has no prior charges.
Justice Smith told both men through an interpreter that if deportation orders exist for them and if they post bail, they would lose their bail money. The two are scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.