Growing case against suspects in home invasions - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Growing case against suspects in home invasions

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Three people already accused in an early morning home- invasion robbery in Sorrento Valley in which a mother of three was sexually assaulted were charged Thursday with two other ``hot prowl'' robberies in which a gun was pointed at the victims.
   
Thomas James Smith, 24, and brothers Aaron David Rico III, 20, and Aaron David Rico V, 17, were charged last week with conspiracy to commit burglary,
robbery and sexual assault in connection with the Jan. 31 home-invasion robbery in Sorrento Valley.
   
Stephen Ramon Gomez, 20, was also charged with the sexual assault robbery and Robin Elizabeth Shawver, also 20, was charged with conspiracy,
robbery and burglary counts in connection with that break-in.
   
On Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Jalyn Wang added residential burglary counts and robbery charges against Smith, the Rico brothers and a new
defendant, 19-year-old Victor Fransisco Harvey.
   
The prosecutor said 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 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.
   
Additional charges may be forthcoming as the investigation into the robbery series continues, according to the prosecutor.
   
``This is a very violent series that we're investigating here,'' Wang said outside court. ``These families are terrorized, especially when we're
talking about children being present in the home, victims being bound up and tied, guns pointed at them. The actions of these defendants are very violent, very callous and they are a danger to the community at this point.''
   
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.
   
Gomez, Rico III, Smith and Rico V are being held on $1 million bail each. Bail for Harvey and Shawver is set at $500,000.
   
Smith -- who was on probation for residential burglary -- faces 180 years to life in prison if convicted.
   
Gomez faces 34 years to life, and the Rico brothers each face 38 years to life, if convicted. Shawver and Harvey would face nine and eight years
behind bars, respectively, if found guilty.
   
The suspects also have been linked to a similar robbery that took place in the 11400 block of Aliento Court in Rancho Bernardo on Feb. 5.
   
While conducting searches as part of the investigation, detectives impounded two replica guns believed to have been used during the robberies,
police said.
   
A status conference is set for March 3 and a preliminary hearing for March 9.

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