Police may have captured 'bump and rob' bandits
A pair of men who allegedly bumped their car into the vehicles of elderly people and robbed them while they were exchanging information were being held in Orange County jail today as police tried to determine if they had been involved in other crimes.
Cypress police said they were investigating whether the men arrested Wednesday -- Ivory Joe Taylor, 43, left, and Henry James Dotson Jr., 46, right, -- were the robbers dubbed the "bump and rob" bandits, who committed similar crimes in Orange and Los Angeles counties.
Sgt. Tom Bruce said that the Cypress Police Department has logged at least three such crimes recently and that the Seal Beach Police Department has reported similar cases.
“Frankly, we don’t know how many they were responsible for,” Bruce said. “They obviously were successful when they first started it, and obviously that’s why they kept going.”
A motorist called Cypress police about 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, reporting that a traffic accident had occurred and that people in a white Chevrolet Impala had stolen a credit card, Bruce said.
As police were searching the area, a motorist flagged down Cypress police officers, reporting another traffic accident. That motorist said that men in a white Impala had stolen more than $800 in cash. An alert was broadcast to other law enforcement agencies. A La Palma officer spotted the car but lost the Impala during the pursuit.
The Impala was later found abandoned. About 11:15 a.m., a gang unit with the Buena Park Police Department spotted Taylor, who matched a description from one of the victims, walking on an overpass of the 91 Freeway. Soon after, they found Dotson hiding under a truck in an office building parking lot.
After police detained Taylor and Dotson, the victims identified them as the men who robbed them. The men were booked on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and robbery. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department website said Taylor was being held on $250,000 bail. Dotson was being held on $100,000 bail. Bruce said the accidents tended to involve minor bumps to the rear ends of the cars of elderly people.
He said the men probably targeted the elderly assuming they carried a lot of cash and did not pay much attention to where they put their wallets. Police are still investigating whether other people may have been involved in the crimes.
In a traffic accident, Bruce said, “If you’re ever in doubt, call 911 and get police there. You never know what their motives are. It could be an innocent traffic accident or it could be staged.”
-- Jia-Rui Chong
Photos: Ivory Joe Taylor, left, and Henry James Dotson Jr. Credit: Cypress Police Department