News

Police nab suspected blind date robbers

Suspects may have lived near location of Tyrella Ave. robberies

Mountain View police have arrested three teens on suspicion of tricking several men to come to the 600 block of Tyrella Avenue believing they would have sex on a bed covered in money, only to be robbed of said money.

According to Sgt. Sean Thompson of the Mountain View Police Department, officers arrested 19-year-old Nazario Cruz of Mountain View and an unnamed 17-year-old girl on the morning of Aug. 8 in the 50 block of Evandale Avenue, right around the corner from the area of Tyrella Avenue where the robberies occurred. Another 19-year-old, Jose Urias, was picked up in East Palo Alto around the same time on the 2200 block of Ralmar Avenue.

Investigators believe the young men and teenage girl worked together on at least three occasions to lure three men to the 600 block of Tyrella Avenue -- all of them carrying a large amount of cash and thinking they would be spreading that money on top of a bed before fulfilling the fantasy of a woman they had met online.

The first robbery occurred on May 28, and was followed by two other incidents on May 29 and June 5. The three victims arranged their bogus blind dates on the dating website Badoo.com.

In each case, instead of meeting a woman, they were approached from behind by two men -- one with a knife and the other with what appeared to be a gun. Each time the men were robbed of the cash they brought, which ranged from between $1,500 to $2,000.

None of the victims were hurt. A fourth man was almost a victim, but ended up being scared off before going to the Tyrella Avenue location.

The alleged blind date robbers' tactics weren't incredibly smooth, according to Thompson, who said police were able to use the communications sent between the robbers and their victims to trace their respective locations. The fact that the robbers returned to the same location multiple times wasn't the sneakiest move either, Thompson acknowledged.

Still, Thompson wasn't laughing about the bust. "We're very relieved to get these people off the streets," he said, echoing the sentiment of the case's lead investigator, Det. Kevin Galloway.

"We have been working diligently on this case since the original incident in May of this year," Galloway said. "This case was non-trivial and required us to really strategize how we were going to uncover these suspects who were extremely brazen in their tactics."

No money was found in the arrests, though police did recover a pellet gun at the Evandale Avenue location, which may have been used in the robberies.

Thompson said there may have been more robberies committed by these suspects that weren't reported.

"There are three confirmed incidents of this type of robbery occurring here in Mountain View," Galloway said. "If you or anyone you know has information about these cases, or other people related to them, now is the time to contact us."

Galloway can be reached at 650-903-6150 ext. 6624, or one can send MVPD an anonymous SMS tip to 274637 and include "mvtips" in the body of your text.

Comments

Posted by chuck mangione, a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 9, 2013 at 8:39 am

chuck mangione is a registered user.

Yes, I suppose it was a good scam if you did it once, but it was very obvious that at least one of them lived very close to the Tyrella Avenue apartments. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they were past residents of that apartment complex.

And IP addresses are always gonna hang cyberthugs.

An interesting element to me is the fact that a 17 year-old girl was used in the operation, and I'm sure she was the one who catfished the guys on the phone, but shouldn't the guys be getting some sort of slap on the wrist for consorting with an underage girl? They seemed ready (you don't just find 2 grand in the couch cushions, there's gotta be a lot of forethought involved) and the Badoo site seems like it's borderline legal anyway, which is why the scam worked as well as it did for that long... shame costs more than 2,000 dollars.

Seems like a lot of work (and risk) for 500 dollars apiece. I really doubt any of these guys actually brought 2,000 exactly. Is this fictional girl gonna count it and say you're 10 bucks short? I wonder how much Monopoly money they got.


Posted by dummydude, a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Aug 12, 2013 at 7:48 pm

dummydude is a registered user.

"We're very relieved to get these people off the streets,".

That was a real dumb thing to say. These people are not going to get any serious punishment and they will be out in a few months. The 17 year old girl knowingly participated n this crime spree even though she is juvenile according to the law. these kids will go into some other town and commit serious crimes of different kind and I really doubt they have any work ethic because if they did they would have worked somewhere or gone to school. these people are would be career criminals.


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