3 suspects charged for home invasion robberies

January 13, 2011 4:45:05 PM PST
Three people have been charged in connection with a series of 25 home invasion robberies in Oakland over a six-month period, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley and Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts said today.

O'Malley said 132 felony counts, including residential robbery, robbery, gun possession and assault, have been filed against 24-year-old Romier Simmons of Stockton and 23-year-old Christopher Malbrough of Hayward.

Seven felony counts have been filed against 21-year-old Kyra Bayless of Milpitas, who was Malbrough's girlfriend, O'Malley said.

O'Malley said Malbrough, who is on parole for a previous residential robbery conviction, could face up to 500 years in state prison if he's convicted of all the charges against him.

Simmons, who has a prior conviction for being an accessory after the fact to a felony, could face 300 years.

Bayless could face about 40 years, O'Malley said.

Most of the victims were Asian immigrants, but some were Hispanic, O'Malley said.

"There's nothing more terrorizing than being at home and having someone kick in the door and sticking a gun in your face," Batts said, but that's what happened in the series of home invasion robberies.

The victims' ages ranged from 2 to 69, Batts said.

Sgt. Randy Wingate, who led the investigation, said the robbery spree began in March, and by June, police had discovered a pattern in the crimes.

Wingate said a break in the case led to Simmons being arrested on Nov. 23. Malbrough was arrested in December, and Bayless was arrested on Wednesday, he said.

Although all three suspects live outside Oakland, Wingate said Simmons and Malbrough were born and raised in Oakland and know the city well.

He said police believe that the suspects targeted the victims because they're immigrants and don't speak English well, but the suspects haven't admitted that.

"It appears that the suspects were driving through Oakland and spotted victims of opportunity," Wingate said.

The suspects' alleged pattern was to see people in front of their homes and then follow them inside, where they held people hostage and stole cash and other items, Wingate said.

He said the total amount that was stolen easily exceeds $100,000.

Wingate said the suspects "were fast, brutal and very intimidating."

The robberies occurred from the Lake Merritt area to High Street, he said.

The investigation is continuing, and the suspects could be charged with additional crimes, Wingate said.