For one Osceola County resident, that simple offer of a ride — to a group that the Osceola County Sheriff’s office says were definitely the wrong people — led to a knife being held to the victim’s throat at the first part of an armed robbery ordeal.
Even when the victim ran out of gas and his car couldn’t go any further, the nightmare continued as the kidnappers called a friend to come pick them up — and then transport the victim to his bank so he could make a cash withdrawal, detectives say.
The suspects even stole the victim’s clothes. He had to walk completely naked to a nearby convenience store for help.
But the alleged thieves didn’t get far, and on Tuesday Osceola detectives arrested six people for their involvement in this brazen armed robbery and kidnapping attempt.
The investigation started on Sept. 29 around 2:45 a.m. Deputies got a call from two women who asked officers to respond to their home at 5550 Old Tampa Highway in Kissimmee. Deputies arrived and spoke with the two women, Lindsey Saucedo and Rosa DeJesus, who said they had been with a friend — later identified as the victim of the alleged kidnapping — and two others, Stephen Batista and Frederick Rodriguez, earlier that day.
Deputies were told that the victim had agreed to give them a ride, but once they got on the road, Batista and Rodriguez pulled out a gun and knife and demanded money from the driver.
“Saucedo indicated Batista put the knife to her throat and DeJesus told detectives Batista choked her,” noted Twis Lizasuain, the public information officer for the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, in her report on the arrests.
But as the attempted robbery was going on, the victim ran out of gas, and the car pulled over to the side of the road near Old Tampa Highway and South Orange Blossom Trail.
“According to the victim, they got out of the car began walking until two of the suspect’s friends, Crystal Gonzalez and Abraham Buil, picked them up,” Lizasuain noted. “They all drove to two local banks and forced the victim to withdraw money before they left him on McClaren Circle.”
The suspects stole all of the victim’s personal items, including his clothing, Lizasuain said. The victim walked to a nearby WaWa store at 2499 N. Orange Blossom Trail, where he was able to report the incident to law enforcement.
Based on what the victim told deputies, detectives tracked down Saucedo and DeJesus and brought them in for questioning a second time, and determined they had both lied previously about the incident and their own involvement in the crime.
From there, detectives say, the two women would implicate the other four suspects, who were quickly tracked down, arrested and charged with armed robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, and kidnapping.
Those four suspects were Stephen Batista, 20, of 519 Neptune Bay Circle in St. Cloud; Frederick Rodriguez, 24, of 1821 Cool Breeze Circle in St. Cloud; Crystal Gonzalez, 35, and Abraham Buil, 17, both of 2900 Duchess Oak Circle in St. Cloud.
Saucedo, 18, of 5550 Old Tampa Highway, and DeJesus, 33, of 1616 Perdido Court in Kissimmee, were also charged with filing a false statement to law enforcement. All six were booked into the Osceola County Jail.
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