‘Open-door bandits’ linked to more break-ins
SAN DIEGO — Six people already charged in a northern San Diego home-invasion series in which residents were robbed at gunpoint, tied up and sexually assaulted were charged Thursday with counts relating to four other break- ins.
Stephen Ramon Gomez, 20, brothers Aaron Rico III, 20, and Aaron Rico V, 17, Robin Elizabeth Shawver, 20, Thomas James Smith, 24, and Victor Fransisco Harvey, 19, are charged in the “hot prowl” series that happened in January and February.
All defendants were ordered held on $1.5 million bail.
All six are charged in a Jan. 23 robbery in Mira Mesa in which the perpetrators used a garage door opener to get into the residence and steal $600 worth of valuables, said Deputy District Attorney Jalyn Wang.
All defendants are also charged with a break-in that same night, about a half-mile away, in which they allegedly used another garage door opener to gain access to a home and steal $9,000 worth of property. Stolen items from the earlier robbery in Mira Mesa were found at the second break-in, Wang said.
Gomez, Rico III, Rico V, and Shawver are charged in a Jan. 26 robbery in Carmel Mountain Ranch in which a resident left his home about 1:10 a.m. and returned 10 minutes later to find the robbers in his residence.
Gomez, Rico III and Harvey were charged with breaking into a Scripps Ranch home on Jan. 29, robbing a couple at gunpoint, tying them up and threatening to make them go to the bank and withdraw money. Wang said $50,000 worth of property was stolen in that robbery.
Smith and the Rico brothers were charged in February with conspiracy to commit burglary, robbery, burglary and sexual assault in connection with a Jan. 31 home-invasion robbery in Sorrento Valley.
Gomez was also charged with the sexual assault robbery and Shawver was charged with conspiracy, robbery and burglary counts in connection with that break-in.
Smith, Rico, Rico and Harvey are accused of breaking into a pair of residences in Carmel Mountain Ranch and Sabre Springs in the early morning hours of Feb. 11.
Wang alleged that the defendants broke into a home through an unlocked door about 2:50 a.m., pointed a gun at the victims — who included 13- and 11- year-olds — punched the father of the family in the head and got away.
Two hours later, the defendants allegedly broke into another home about three miles away, again pointed a gun at the victims, tied them up, kicked one person and ransacked the residence before getting away with $2,000 worth of electronics, Wang said.
In the Jan. 31 crime, Wang said the victim and her three children — ranging in age from 4 to 8 — were asleep when the defendants allegedly came into the home through an unlocked door about 2 a.m., barged into the mother’s room, demanded money and asked where the safe was located.
The defendants took jewelry off the woman’s body, pointed a gun at her and threatened to shoot her, then sexually assaulted her, covered her face with a pillow case, tied her up and fled with $10,000 worth of jewelry and other property, the prosecutor alleged.
While conducting searches as part of the investigation, detectives impounded two replica guns believed to have been used during the robberies, police said.
Smith, Gomez and the Rico brothers face life in prison if convicted.
A status conference is set for Sept. 12 and a preliminary hearing for Oct. 3.