Three men and two women have been charged in connection with the Jan. 10 armed robbery of a Nordstrom Rack store in Westchester, where police said 14 employees were taken hostage, two of whom were assaulted.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Raymond Sherman, Jr., 34, Jan. 15 with two counts of forcible rape, one count of oral copulation, one count of kidnapping for rape, one count of assault with a deadly weapon and 14 counts of second-degree robbery, district attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison said. The complaint also alleges that Sherman, who was arrested in Arizona and is awaiting extradition, personally used a handgun.
Prosecutors also charged Troy Marsay Hammock, 29, and Everett Oneal Allen, 24, with 14 counts each of second-degree robbery and one count each of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the incident at the Howard Hughes Center store, Robison said.
Two women, Rochelle Monique Sherman, 33, and Paula Roneshia Bradley, 29, were additionally charged with one count each of accessory after the fact.
Police said the three men were allegedly armed when they confronted the employees as they were leaving the closed store at about 11 p.m. The suspects allegedly forced the workers back into the store and held them hostage while they robbed the business.
Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Lt. Andy Neiman said officers arrived at the scene after one of the employees called a relative to inform him that the store was being robbed.
When officers saw one of the suspects leaving and tried to make contact with him, the suspect ran back into the store, Neiman said. Shortly after, another suspect was seen walking out of the store with a woman, but he allegedly grabbed the woman and forced her back into the business when he saw police, Neiman said.
Members of the LAPD Special Weapons and Tactics team were called to the scene and contained the area around the shopping center. Patrons at a movie theater across from the store were requested to remain in the theaters while police contained the location.
When SWAT officers entered the Nordstrom Rack after 2 a.m. none of the suspects were found and are suspected to have left the scene in a white Sport Utility Vehicle as patrol units were arriving, police said.
Officers searched the store and found the one male and 13 female employees in a locked storage room and bathroom, Neiman said. One of the women had sustained a non-life threatening stab wound to the neck, while a second woman had been sexually assaulted, Neiman said.
Both victims were treated at a local hospital and released later that morning.
Police did not say how they believe the suspects managed to escape, nor did they disclose how much money was taken during the robbery. During a news conference Jan. 14, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the shopping center has multiple exits making it very difficult for officers to cover all of them.
He praised the work of 20 detectives who worked for 48 hours to identify the suspects by scouring the crime scene and reviewing evidence. Police noted that security cameras at the center were highly useful in identifying some of the suspects.
By Jan. 12, detectives had identified and arrested three of the suspects, police said.