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Duo accused of masquerading as law enforcement in robbery scheme that targeted immigrants in Pomona, Fontana, police say

By in Press Enterprise on December 22, 2017

By Beatriz E. Valenzuela

An Ontario man and 17-year-old boy dressed as law enforcement officers targeted and robbed undocumented immigrants in at least two cities, threatening them with deportation if they didn’t hand over cash, Pomona police said Friday.

“We’ve had three victims come forward that are undocumented immigrants and, thankfully they did (come forward), because that’s how we learned who was doing this,” said Pomona police Capt. Michael Ellis. “They will be a vital part of the investigation and anybody else that will believe they have been a victim of this, they don’t have anything to fear. We’re looking for victims in order to get justice for this crime.”

The investigation was launched about two weeks ago based on the information provided by the victims, he said. It appears Andres Sanchez, 20, and the 17-year-old, whose city of residence was not given, were targeting mostly Spanish-speaking immigrants.

Sanchez and the boy would drive around in a sedan outfitted with red lights and sirens, officials said. The pair would wear clothing similar to police uniforms and had police equipment on their belts.

According to victims, the pair would follow people through the city and then pulled them over in their phony police vehicle, officials said.

If the victims indicated they had come to the country illegally, Sanchez and his cohort would threaten the victims with deportation if they didn’t hand over their cash, police officials said.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it and the first we’ve known of a crime like this occurring in Pomona,” Ellis said, adding that crimes like these are especially serious because they can cause communities to lose faith in law enforcement.

“That’s why we investigated it quickly and put a lot of resources on it quickly,” he said. “I think the first victims came forward with the understanding that they trust their police department […]    

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