January 17, 2013

By TAMI ABDOLLAH Associated Press


Five people were arrested for a brutal takeover holdup of a clothing store during which 14 employees were held hostage, including one who was stabbed and another who was sexually assaulted, police announced Monday.

Three Los Angeles men are believed to be the gunmen who robbed the Nordstrom Rack store at a mall near the Los Angeles International Airport last week while two women were suspected of helping them after the robbery, Police Chief Charlie Beck said at a news conference.

Twenty detectives worked on the case around the clock and all five suspects were identified and arrested last Saturday evening, Beck said.

It was not immediately clear whether any of them had obtained attorneys. Beck said investigators planned to send their reports Monday to county prosecutors who will determine whether to file criminal charges.

Officers were sent to the second-floor shop on the night of January 10 after a 911 caller said his girlfriend had reported that gunmen were in the store.

Police officers and SWAT team members rushed to the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, an outdoor shopping center that also has restaurants and a theater.

They entered the store early the next day and found most of the employees in a storage room, although some were hiding elsewhere, said Capt. William Hayes, head of the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division.

A woman employee was stabbed in the neck, another was sexually assaulted and others were pushed or manhandled during the hours-long ordeal, police said.

The robbers got away but with very little money.

“This was a huge location with multiple exits. It was very difficult for responding officers to cover all of them,” Beck said.

The getaway car, a sport utility vehicle, was found abandoned a few miles away.

Beck praised the calm of the employees, 13 women and one man who are in their 20s to 40s, as they faced three men armed with handguns.

“The detectives have universally commented on how composed they were and how brave they were,” he said.

The chief said detectives watched surveillance videos, interviewed witnesses and collected evidence. Four arrests were made last week in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles County sheriff’s website.

Troy Marsay Hammock, 29, of Los Angeles, was arrested on suspicion of robbery and was being held without bail for allegedly violating parole, Beck said.

Everett Oneal Allen, 24, of Los Angeles, was arrested on suspicion of robbery and was held on more than $1 million bail.

Rochelle Monique Sherman, 33, and Paula Roneshia Bradley, 29, both of Los Angeles, were arrested on suspicion of being accessories after the fact and remained jailed on $100,000 bail each.

Raymond Sherman Jr., 34, of Los Angeles, was arrested in Phoenix, Ariz., on suspicion of robbery and was held without bail.

Category: Community