Team of teens, young adults arrested in armed robbery rampage
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Kevin Keen
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Police said they're a group of armed robbers who tied up their victims, pointed guns in their faces, demanded money and stole cars. The youngest of the group is just 16 years old. The oldest: 22. Jail booking photos released Thursday show their faces, as the four sit behind bars facing serious felony charges.
In one armed robbery, Tucson police said a 16-year-old strolled into Pawn Stop pawn shop on North Oracle last week. Surveillance video shows the teen, Steven Robles, before police say he pulled out a gun, ordering the employee to the ground. That employee was store manager Ralph Hastie.
“Anytime anyone points a gun at you from two feet away, (that’s) nothing to sneeze at,” Hastie told 9 On Your Side.
Hastie said he was less surprised about the armed robbery in progress than about something else.
“I didn't really sense any danger from the young man,” he explained. “He was very polite, very courteous, clean cut, well dressed, talked nicely.”
Hastie said Robles ordered him to tie himself up using an iPhone cable, as the 16-year-old took his time filling a bag with electronics.
“He really didn't know what he was doing,” Hastie said. “Anybody who tries to hold up a pawn shop is crazy because we've all got very advanced security systems.”
Police arrived, Robles dropped the loot and got away, according to Hastie. But not for long. Days later, police made their arrest.
Also now behind bars: 15-year-old Alexandria Gallego, 22-year-old Orlando Robles and 19-year-old Samuel Torres-Garcia.
Tucson police reported all four of the young adults were involved in up to eight armed robberies over the past few months in Tucson. Often, they were together.
“It started off with just an armed robbery -- a handgun and taking people's money,” Sgt. Chris Widmer said. “It went from there to tying people up, taking their cars and kept progressing.”
Collectively, the whole group has racked up more than two dozen felony counts of armed robbery, aggravated robbery and aggravated assault. Other charges are pending.
“These are serious charges and, like you said, this isn't shoplifting,” Widmer said. “This isn't a joke because they're kids. They put a lot of fear into people.”
“I'm just glad he's in jail,” Hastie said, referring to Robles.
Investigators and prosecutors are looking at each of the eight armed robberies to see what other charges apply. Those charges could be kidnapping and grand theft auto, Widmer said.