Case # 13CF3793
Date: July 29, 2015
TWO MEN CONVICTED OF ROBBERY IN CONCERT FOR BREAKING INTO TWO HOMES IN ORANGE FOR BENEFIT OF GANG
*Third co-defendant in this case pleaded guilty to robbery
SANTA ANA, Calif. – Two men were convicted today of robbery in concert after breaking into two homes in Orange for the benefit of a criminal street gang. Andre Ricardo Pierson, 25, Inglewood, and Dwight Ladale Stephen, 26, Los Angeles, were found guilty by a jury of seven felony counts of first degree robbery of a dwelling in concert, one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon with sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity and vicarious use of a firearm by a gang member. Pierson’s prior prison conviction for possession of a firearm by a felon in 2010, and Stephen’s prior conviction for unlawfully carrying a concealed firearm in 2008 were also found to be true. The defendants each face a maximum sentence of 106 years and eight months to life in state prison at their sentencing on Aug. 21, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Co-defendant Curtis Ray Robinson, 27, Los Angeles, pleaded guilty on April 28, 2015, to seven felony counts of first degree robbery of a dwelling in concert as criminal street gang activity, two felony counts of assault with a firearm, one felony count of first degree residential burglary, and one count of street terrorism, with a sentencing enhancement for vicarious use of a firearm by a gang member. Robinson faces a maximum sentence of 27 years in state prison at his sentencing on Aug. 8, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center.
Pierson, Stephen, and Robinson are members of the same criminal street gang.
On Aug. 12, 2013, Pierson, Stephen, and Robinson drove to Orange and broke into three separate homes in the same neighborhood. Robinson broke into the first home while the owners were away. Robinson ransacked the house but did not take any items.
At approximately 9:00 p.m. that evening, the defendants broke into a second home. The victims, a husband and wife, were asleep inside the home when the defendants entered. The defendants woke up the husband, told him he was being robbed, and made him lie face down on the bed. The defendants demanded to know where valuables in the house were, then went through the house stealing property. The defendants found the wife sleeping on a couch, woke her up, and forced her to the bedroom and made her lie face down next to her husband. The defendants then tied the couple together and continued to demand to know the location of their valuables. At some point, the husband was able to free himself and tried to quickly reach for his firearms under the bed but the defendants had already taken them. One of the defendants found the victim had freed himself and put the barrel of a gun against his temple, and ordered him back onto the bed. Soon after, the victims’ daughter returned home and entered through the garage. She was confronted by one of the defendants, who was armed with a gun. She screamed, ran inside the house and closed herself inside a room, only to learn that the other two defendants were already in the room with her. She was forced into the room with her parents and made to lie face down on the bed as well.
Approximately two hours later, while one defendant remained with the family in the second house, two of the defendants broke into a third home by breaking a window of the French doors in the back of the house. When the defendants entered the home, one of the victims began to run to the garage, but then saw his father-in-law on the floor of the kitchen and his wife struggling with one of the defendants, who was holding a rifle. The defendant hit the man’s wife in the mouth with a rifle during the struggle. The husband tried to intervene and stop the defendant from assaulting his family but suffered a cut to his hand in the struggle. The defendant with the rifle then forced the husband and his wife and father-in-law to lie face down in the living room while the other defendant had the husband’s sister-in-law open the house safe. The defendants inadvertently set off an alarm, which caused them to flee and alerted the police to the robbery.
The Orange Police Department (OPD) began investigating this case with assistance from the Los Angeles Police Department. OPD was able to connect the defendants to the crimes through a combination of surveillance, phone records, DNA evidence collected from the scene, and witness identification, and subsequently arrested the defendants.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.