WEST VALINDA — Two suspects were behind bars Friday, and another was being sought, in connection with a violent day-time home-invasion robbery of a couple already in a string of bad luck.
Taken in the heist, at a home that was scorched by fire last month, was the last of the homeowner’s money after cashing in his life insurance policy to repair the home, officials and his girlfriend said.
A man and woman were at a home in the 1000 block of Sandia Avenue shortly before 12:30 p.m. Thursday when two robbers knocked at the door, then forced their way inside, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Wilson said.
The home was damaged by a fire in February, said the woman who was robbed, who asked that her name be withheld for fear of retaliation. The woman’s boyfriend is in the process of inheriting the home from his father, who died late last year, and the home was not insured.
He had just cashed out a life insurance policy for nearly $10,000 — the last of his assets — in order to make repairs to the home. The money was hidden at the home.
It appears someone found out about the stashed cash, Wilson said, adding that it was highly unlikely the home was targeted at random.
The woman and man were in the garage of the home when they heard someone knocking out front and calling the name of the male victim, the woman said.
“We didn’t recognize the voice,” she said.
“They kicked in the side door,” she said. “They hit him with the butt of a gun and said, “Where’s the money? Then they told me to get on the ground and kicked me in my side.”
The two robbers — one of whom wore a mask – ransacked the home looking for the money, but could not find it in the place where the man and woman indicated, the woman said.
“They accused me of lying and kicked me in the head,” the woman said.
The robbers ultimately made the man come with them at gunpoint and retrieve the money, the woman said. They then quickly fled.
Throughout the incident, the men were threatening to shoot the couple, the woman added.
Deputies responding to the crime found and arrested two men on suspicion of the robbery nearby, at the corner of Amar Road and Orange Avenue, Wilson said. They were identified as Francisco Aceves, 20, of West Valinda, and Juan Morfin, 24, of La Puente.
A third robber, who Wilson said apparently fled with the stolen loot in a black Toyota Corolla, remained at-large.
The woman said she wasn’t convinced deputies had the right men in custody.
One of the two men arrested appeared white, she said, adding that both men who robbed her appeared Latino, though one of the robbers wore a mask.
The most recent incident has been devastating to the woman’s boyfriend, she said.
“He just lost his dad. Then his house caught fire. Now he’s lost everything he had,” she said. “This chain of events just doesn’t stop.”