UPDATE, FEB. 18, 6 A.M.: The Santa Ana Police Department has now connected both Christopher Herrera and Sandy Cacero to the Jan. 6 attempted robbery at the Double Tree Hotel in Santa Ana. (Both are also suspected in the Feb. 11 robbery at the Best Western motel in Dana Point and have now each bailed out of custody.) But the question remains as to who the other woman was who accompanied Herrera and Cacero in Santa Ana.
"The unidentified female is only known as 26 -year-old 'Jamie' and is believed to be living in the North Hollywood area," reads a Santa Ana Police advisory. "She has numerous tattoos on her arms." Considered a person of interest, the woman is wanted for questioning. Anyone with information as to her identity and location is asked to contact Santa Ana Police Robbery Detective Corporal Adrian Silva 714.245.8545 or Orange County Crime Stoppers, where tips can be left anonymously, at 1.855.TIP.OCCS.
ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 17, 6:33 A.M.: A 27-year-old Bell Gardens man and a 24-year-old La Palma woman have been arrested in connection with a robbery at a Dana Point motel last week that began with a Backpage.com ad, according to the sheriff's department. Meanwhile, police have released surveillance video and images pulled from it that investigators say show the same man and two different women involved in an attempted robbery at a Santa Ana hotel in January. And cops from both agencies suspect the gang has preyed on others as well.
Christopher Augustin Herrera and Sandy Christina Caceros were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of robbery, according to Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock, the department spokesman. Herrera, who listed his occupation to jailers as forklift operator, was held on $250,000 bail at Orange County Jail. Caceros, who identified herself as a waitress, posted bail and was released Thursday.
Someone who responded to a Backpage.com classified advertisement arranged to meet someone else at the Best Western, 34280 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point, for some kind of transaction, according to Hallock. (Backpage.com is owned by former owners of OC Weekly's parent company.)
Herrera and Caceros allegedly attacked the person responding to the ad with pepper spray at the motel before taking cash, a cell phone and a computer tablet and driving off in a white, 2013 Nissan Maxima with the license plate 6XCC446, Hallock said.
The pair was arrested later that same day in La Palma without incident, Hallock said.
Evidence from the robbery linked Herrera to the Jan. 6 robbery try at the Double Tree, 201 E. MacArthur Blvd., Santa Ana, according to Hallock. In that incident, Herrera allegedly came up from behind a man who'd entered his room, demanded money and when the victim refused, Herrera beat him before running away with two females, the spokesman said.
Here is the Double Tree surveillance video:
On the next page are images pulled from that video ...
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Anyone with information about the incidents or who recognizes someone from the photos is asked to call Santa Ana Police Detective Cpl. Adrian Silva at 714.245.8545 or 714.834.4211. Orange County sheriff's officials can be reached around the clock at 714.647.7000. Anonymous tips can be left with Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855.847.6227 (855-TIP-OCCS), via occrimestoppers.org or by texting to 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S) from a cell phone. (All text messages should begin with the letters "OCCS".)