African couple claiming misidentification in robbery case to be released after bail reduced

The man in surveillance footage released by PPD, left, allegedly robbed an elderly woman of $8,000 on March 310. Vickson Korlewala, right, is charged with the crime and is currently in jail, as is his wife. Credit: PPD (left), Susanna Dodgson
The man in surveillance footage released by PPD, left, allegedly robbed an elderly woman of $8,000 on March 310. Vickson Korlewala, right, is charged with the crime and is currently in jail, as is his wife. Credit: PPD (left), Susanna Dodgson (right).

At a bail hearing today for Vickson and Lorpu Korlewala, charged in the robbery of an 80-year-old woman, bail was reduced from a combined $1 million to $500,000.

More than 30 supporters and friends of the family attended the hearing, many of them carrying signs that said “Mistaken Identity” with a picture of Vickson Korlewala – a chemist who has never previously been arrested — next to a picture of the suspect in this crime (above). They also wore T-shirts with the same image printed on it. Supporters say the pictures show two different men.

Now, friends said, the Korlewalas, who have been jailed since April 2, will be able to post 10 percent of the bail, $50,000, to secure their release.

Vickson, 57, and Lorpu, 51, are charged with robbery and simple assault for allegedly forcing an 80-year-old woman to go to a Citizen’s Bank branch and withdraw $8,000 on March 31.

Vickson is a chemist who develops environmental technology, and Lorfu owns a hair braiding salon. Both are active members of the Liberian immigrant community.

The reduced bail is reportedly due to prosecutors dropping charges of a second, Feb. 1 robbery against the Korlewalas.

Prosecutors have also dropped plans to hold an investigatory grand jury, and instead will schedule a preliminary hearing at which a judge which will decide whether sufficient evidence exists to hold charges against the Korlewalas for trial.

That hearing is scheduled May 5.


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