Two men were arrested in connection with using a mentally-disabled teenager to help them carry out a series of robberies on Asian women in California over the last two months.
Dominic Shamo, 21, and Juan Arzate, 20, allegedly “directed” a 17-year-old boy to aid in robberies in parking lots in San Jose, California, between August and September.
Shamo and Arzate were apprehended for at least four robberies in which they are believed to have “forcibly removed jewelry from the victims and fled the scene on foot,” KRON 4 reported.
The pair claimed that they used the boy, whose name has been withheld, to grab jewelries in their crime spree, with some victims sustaining minor injuries. Investigators found that they did not participate in the snatch-and-run scheme themselves.
Their activities were exposed on September 4 when a tipster called the police after noticing that the three appeared to be “following a victim.”
Shamo and Arzate were booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of robbery and attempted robbery.
Meanwhile, the boy was booked into juvenile hall on similar charges. The effect of his disability on his culpability is yet to be determined.
According to SFGate, San Jose Police Department spokesman Sgt. Enrique Garcia said:
“That’s one of the things the court, the judicial system is going to have to look at. We’re not qualified to determine the mental capacity of someone.”
Garcia added that the teen does not appear to have been threatened to commit the robberies.
According to Mercury News, he pointed out why Shamo and Arzate got the 17-year-old involved in the crimes:
“They’re taking advantage of someone who’s mentally handicapped. The suspects also know the juvenile won’t get as much (jail) time as an adult.”