Police seek help with robberies | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Police seek help with robberies

William Ferchland

Police are hoping the public will help in identifying two men wanted for robbing pedestrians of their cell phones and wallets in two cases.

The first robbery occurred Aug. 30 around 11 p.m. at Pine Boulevard near Stateline when two males approached two teenagers, taking a cell phone and a wallet, South Lake Tahoe police Detective Mark Tappen said.

No one was hurt and a weapon wasn’t displayed, Tappen said.

Five days later, on Sept. 4. at 10:09 p.m., Brad Ross and Joshua Cabezas were attacked behind the Raley’s supermarket near Stateline when they refused to hand over money, Tappen said.

Again, a cell phone and wallet were taken.

Tappen believes the two robberies were committed by the same men but can’t quite tie the men to another robbery that happened about 40 minutes after the one Sunday.

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Thirty dollars in cash and casino chips were given by Chris Simpson, a 21-year-old Millbrae resident, to a man described as in his 20s or 30s, authorities said. Simpson was allegedly attacked at the corner of Stateline and Pine avenues.

Tappen noted the frequency of such crimes as unusual.

“I honestly don’t know what the motive might be,” he said. “You can speculate. It could be drug-related or not but I don’t know.”

One suspect is described as a white male between the ages of 18 to 25. He stands from 5 feet, 10 inches to 6 feet, 2 inches with his weight described as ranging from 160 to 185 pounds. He has dirty blond/brown hair with sideburns and a goatee.

The other suspect was described as white and in the same age range. He stands from 5 feet, 7 inches to 5 feet, 9 inches and weighs somewhere between 160 and 175 pounds. He has short dark hair and wore a dark sweatshirt and baggy pants.

Perhaps the most brazen street robbery in recent weeks occurred Aug. 28. Two men, 19-year-old Clayton Garza and 20-year-old Kolby Fair, allegedly used a knife to scare a man in a wheelchair to hand over his backpack, authorities said.

Garza and Fair were arrested shortly after and booked into El Dorado County Jail on a litany of charges.

The crimes were brought to the attention of Lt. Martin Hewlett, who was off work for a week.

“So obviously it got put on the radar screen,” he said.

The demographics of the city of South Lake Tahoe means three or four crimes similar in nature can turn into a concern of a spree.

“Those things are going to happen several times a year … and we take them very seriously,” Hewlett said.

From January to March this year in Douglas County three robberies were reported, all without a weapon, said sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Mezzetta. Two occurred during the same period last year, which had a total of 11 robberies, nine of which didn’t involve a weapon, Mezzetta said.

Anyone with information on the robberies are asked to call Tappen at (530) 542-6134.

– E-mail William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com