Roadside Heist in Santa Ana: Masked Robbers Demand Cash From Women With Flat Tire

The beginning of a horror movie.
The beginning of a horror movie.

OK -- is it just us, or is there something majorly fishy about this story? The Santa Ana Police Department reported a theft yesterday from the shoulder of West Barbette Avenue, where a couple of women had allegedly just been stripped of thousands of dollars in cash by three brooding robbers in their twenties. But listen to the events leading up to the roadside debacle:

First, police Corporal Anthony Bertagna told City News Service, the victims withdrew "a large sum of money from a bank," which they allegedly needed in cash and on hand to help out a relative with health problems. Then, while they were in the 5300 block of West Barbette...

... a "good Samaritan" (ladies: never trust anyone who refers to himself as a Samaritan; it's just creepy), flagged them over to the side of the road because he allegedly saw they had a flat tire.

OK, so: Thousands of dollars in cash, flat tire, man Samaritan getting his hands dirty on tire-changing duties as man Samaritans are expected to do when presented with damsels in distress (even when said damsels are holding thousands of dollars in cash).

Where things really get weird is in the arrival of a third car, a "small, dark gray compact" with its license plates covered. Three men in their twenties allegedly stepped out, walked over to the Samaritan tire-changing scene and demanded the thousands of dollars in cash -- which they then received, after threatening they had weapons but never showing any.

Bertagna told City News Service that the Samaritan was interviewed at the scene and did not appear to have had a hand in the robbery.

But -- it just all seems so planned! And heisty! We're thinking either the robbers witnessed the withdrawal and just happened to get lucky with the roadside pull-over, or there are some evil forces of genius at play here.

Could it be... the relative with health problems? The notorious Santa Ana hate monger? Or pistol-whipper? Or Charlie Sheen?

Some final clues from the OC Register:

The women withdrew an undisclosed amount of money from a Fountain Valley Bank for "family health reasons" and were driving through Santa Ana about 3:30 p.m. when the robbery occurred...

The good Samaritan stayed at the scene to talk to police, Bertagna said.

Police are looking into the possibility that the women were followed, Bertagna said, or that the robbers were tipped that they had money.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]


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