A ruthless six-man California robbery crew preyed on Asian women, committing more than 70 heists in San Jose and as many as 177 throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, authorities said.
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen announced the charges against the six suspects during a news conference Wednesday in San Jose’s Little Saigon section, where some of the victims, including elderly women, were attacked without warning.
The six suspects targeted their victims for robbery and “took their purses” while pouncing on them during incidents of robbery, burglary and theft in San Jose alone between October 2020 and September, Rosen said.
“And this happened to more than 100 women throughout not only Santa Clara County, but throughout the Bay Area,” Rosen told reporters. “They targeted Asian women because they thought Asian women don’t use banks and they made other ethnic slurs against Asians which I won’t repeat here.”
The suspects were identified by San Jose police as Anthony Michael Robinson, 24, of Stockton; Cameron Alonzo Moody, 27, of East Palo Alto; Derje Damond Banks, 23, of San Jose; Hassani Burleson Rasmsey, 24, of Oakland; Clarence Jackson, 21, of East Palo Alto; and Malik Short, 21, of Tracy.
They could be linked to as many as 177 robberies, burglaries and thefts throughout the greater San Francisco area, San Jose police Capt. Brian Shab said.
“There is no doubt that these suspects believed they could prey on these victims because of their ethnicity, because of their gender,” Shab told reporters.
The six suspects were arrested following a yearlong investigation, during which at least one ghost gun was recovered, department officials said. The arrests should send a “strong message” to members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, San Jose police said in a statement.
“Criminals who wish to target you because of your ethnicity, or your gender, will be met with the tenacity of the finest police officers, detectives, and attorneys in the nation, and this case is a great example of that,” department officials said.
Witnesses and victims alike helped investigators identify the “prolific” robbery crew, according to San Jose police.
The six suspects stalked their victims and attacked them while alone at locations like grocery store parking lots and fled afterward, prosecutors told the Washington Post.
“These victims … were being essentially hunted,” prosecutor Marisa McKeown of the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office told the newspaper. “It’s been a terrifying experience. If you were an Asian female in certain parts of San Jose, it would feel — and it actually was — unsafe [at] certain times of day to go to the bank, to go to the grocery store.”
The crew made off with up to $2,000 in each robbery, McKeown said, and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and belongings altogether.
The suspects were arrested in September and November, Shab said, and three were still in custody as of Thursday. If convicted on all charges, one of the men faces up to 95 years in prison, he said.