SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) – A 22-year-old man, who police said was one of two suspects fought off by Santa Cruz homeowners during a home invasion robbery last month, turned himself into police on Monday morning, police said.
At about 7:15 a.m. on Monday, Esteban Lopez, who had a $250,000 warrant for his arrest for robbery, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon and burglary, surrendered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in connection to a home invasion robbery that occurred in the 500 block of Poplar Avenue on Feb. 20. Victim Yarry Gonzalez described the crime as ‘incompetent’ immediately following the incident.
In the weeks following the robbery, Lopez was not seen at his home, work or other haunts, according to police.
Gonzalez and his wife were awakened in the early hours of Feb. 20 by two masked men who demanded cash, Santa Cruz police Deputy Chief Steve Clark said. One of the suspects held a screwdriver, the other held a decorative sword taken from inside the home, Clark said.
“I think they were surprised to find us in here,” Gonzalez told CBS the day after the attack.“They kind of talked amongst themselves for a second and then demanded money.”
The suspects attempted to bind Gonzalez and his wife with old and brittle duct tape they found inside the home. They then resorted to tying the couple up with an electrical cord, Clark said.
After the two intruders learned there were children in the home, they allegedly threatened to harm them, police said.
At that Gonzalez and his wife freed themselves and fought with the suspects for some time before one of the children called 911 at about 4:25 a.m., police said.
“She picks up one of our heating bags here, and she chucks it at the back of Weasel’s head, the smaller guy who’s wielding at this point … a decorative sword from my wall and a screwdriver.” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez said as he fought the intruders he screamed as loud as he could to get the attention of neighbors. It apparently was enough to scare off the smaller man.
“I think Weasel panicked,” said Gonzalez. “He realized that the jig was up. And he uh, he bolted. He ran right out the front door.”
Gonzalez said he continued to fight the larger of the two intruders and the struggle continued out onto the front lawn of the house, where Gonzalez was able to get the man into a headlock.
Lopez escaped with some valuables, Clark said. Lopez, a confirmed “Beach Flats” Sureño gang member with an extensive history of law enforcement contact, was taken into custody and booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail for the $250,000 warrant.
Cuactemoc Xilonzochilt-Zamora, 28, of Santa Cruz, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of robbery, burglary, false imprisonment, possession of methamphetamine and assault with a deadly weapon. He was booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail.
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