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 in order to fulfill 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 victims 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.