Two males who’re believed to have focused staff and prospects in dozens of therapeutic massage parlor robberies have been charged in federal courtroom.

One of many males admitted to finishing up 50 to 60 robberies of therapeutic massage parlors in Southern California, in accordance with federal prosecutors.

The suspects, 28-year-old Andy Cuellar of Hawthorne and 27-year-old Arturo Morales of Downey, have been arrested Friday after they held up a number of staff at a Torrance therapeutic massage parlor, in accordance with a 15-page indictment filed Tuesday within the Central District of California.

Cuellar and Morales have been unaware on the time {that a} legislation enforcement job drive was tailing them as they drove from Compton after which received off the 110 Freeway in Torrance. Cuellar was driving a black 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee allegedly linked to a minimum of 12 different therapeutic massage parlor robberies dedicated over the past month, prosecutors mentioned. The Jeep was registered in Cuellar’s mom’s identify.

On Friday, Cuellar and Morales stopped in entrance of assorted therapeutic massage parlors, however Cuellar spent just a few seconds inside the companies earlier than he walked again out to the Jeep, in accordance with the indictment. Round 8:30 p.m., Cuellar walked into Fortunate Well being Remedy in Torrance and acted like a buyer, in accordance with surveillance footage reviewed by investigators. He was led to a again room by an worker, and Morales quickly adopted via the door that Cuellar held open behind the enterprise.

Cuellar was armed with a knife and Morales was armed with a .38-caliber pistol, in accordance with investigators.

An worker tried to expire of the enterprise, however Cuellar caught her within the parking zone and pulled her by the hair again into the enterprise, the indictment mentioned.

A couple of minutes later, each suspects allegedly left the enterprise carrying a number of baggage. Workers informed investigators who approached the enterprise that they have been robbed however couldn’t name 911 as a result of two males stole their belongings, together with their telephones.

Police discovered Cuellar and Morales at a close-by gasoline station, the place they have been allegedly sorting via the gadgets stolen from the staff, in accordance with prosecutors. The suspects ran when police approached the Jeep with their lights and sirens on. Morales was caught in a close-by intersection with roughly $4,000 in money in his possession, and Cuellar had about $400.

Cuellar was carrying a Dodgers baseball hat, eyeglasses and distinct white boots, in accordance with investigators. A suspect in two separate therapeutic massage parlor robberies was carrying the identical outfit, courtroom information present.

Investigators discovered the handgun that they consider was used in the course of the theft; it was loaded with a chambered spherical and was reported stolen in 2018.

One of many staff at Fortunate Well being Remedy recognized Morales as the one who used a gun in the course of the theft. One other sufferer mentioned Morales waved the gun round to get extra from the staff and Cuellar informed him that they’d sufficient, in accordance with investigators.

Later that night time, just one sufferer was capable of determine Cuellar as one of many alleged robbers, whereas one other sufferer couldn’t determine both of them.

Cuellar informed investigators he borrowed his gun from a good friend, as a result of “when you have got a gun no person fights with you,” in accordance with courtroom information. He additionally admitted that he and Morales robbed a number of therapeutic massage parlors in November and December with one other confederate whom he didn’t determine, however he mentioned he has personally been concerned in 50 to 60 therapeutic massage parlor robberies. He was out on federal probation for a narcotics conviction when he robbed the Torrance therapeutic massage parlor, investigators mentioned.

Prosecutors charged the 2 males with interference with commerce and use of a firearm throughout a criminal offense of violence. The boys have been arrested as a part of a sting operation that concerned the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Orange County Violent Crime Activity Drive.

It’s unclear whether or not the lads have any authorized illustration. They’re anticipated to be arraigned within the coming weeks.


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