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Cops: Home invaders well trained

Citizen Staff Writer
Law and Order Report



Three men arrested in a violent home invasion Sunday were well equipped and appeared to have experience or at least training in the crime, a Tucson police spokesman said Tuesday.

The men, who claimed to be Tucson police officers, had bullet-resistant vests, gloves, weapons and dark-colored masks; moved quickly in the home they targeted; and seemed to have planned the heist, Sgt. Fabian Pacheco said.

But the plan fell apart when a victim followed the intruders from the home, relaying such information as the description of their car and direction of travel to a 911 operator who relayed the information to patrol officers rushing to the scene, Pacheco said.

One male victim was struck by an assault rifle and required stitches to close the head wound. Another male victim hit in the head with a rifle did not require treatment, and a woman in the home was uninjured, Pacheco said.

“This isn’t their first rodeo,” Pacheco said. “It appears they had some sort of training or experience.”

Arrested in the case were Alejandro J. Templeton, 19, of the 500 block of West Elvira Road; Alejandro C. Mendoza, 31, of the 0 to 100 block of East Laguna Street; and Tony Maldonado, 22, of the 100 block of West Oklahoma Street. All three were booked into the Pima County Jail on charges of kidnapping, armed robbery, aggravated robbery and aggravated assault, a jail records clerk said.

Templeton and Maldonado were ordered held on a $25,000 cash-only bail; Mendoza, without bail on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.

Pacheco gave this account of the robbery :

Three men went to a home in the 2500 block of North Estrella Avenue just before midnight Sunday.

The door was unlocked and the three entered, yelling “TPD.”

They demanded OxyContin, a powerful painkiller, but instead got heart medicine, Pacheco said. They also demanded and received an undisclosed amount of money and jewelry.

After getting their loot, the men fled early Monday in a car that officers later found abandoned in the 100 block of West Delano Street.

Officers found inside the car the two assault rifles they believe were used in the robbery, three pairs of gloves and three bullet-resistant vests. A pistol was found nearby.

Officers quickly surrounded the area, and an extensive search turned up Templeton, Mendoza and Maldonado.

Pacheco said two other vehicles were seen rushing from the robbery scene when the suspects fled and those passengers may have been involved in the case, too. Descriptions of those vehicles and their occupants were not available.

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