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Five arrested in Nordstrom Rack takeover robbery, LAPD says

January 14, 2013 | 12:06 pm

A total of five people have been arrested in connection with a takeover robbery at Nordstrom Rack in Westchester last week that included taking 14 employees captive, Los Angeles police said Monday.

The arrests were announced at a press conference held by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck at the downtown police headquarters building. Police had earlier said three were arrested, but have since raised the total to five.

Among those arrested was Raymond Sherman Jr., 34, of Los Angeles, on Saturday in Phoenix on suspicion of robbery. He is believed to have sexually assaulted a Nordstrom Rack employee, according to multiple law-enforcement sources familiar with the investigation.

Also booked on suspicion of robbery were Troy Marsay Hammock, 29, and Everette Oneal Allen, 24, both of Los Angeles, police said. Rochelle Monique Sherman, 33, and Paula Roneshia Bradley, 29, both of Los Angeles, were arrested on suspicion of being accessories to a crime, according to police.

Beck would not detail how the suspects were taken into custody or their alleged roles in the robbery and hostage situation. He said 20 detectives from the robbery-homicide division worked the case intensely in the 48 hours after three people carried out the robbery.

Sources said they had strong evidence linking the suspects to the crime, including physical evidence and security camera video. Prosecutors will decide this week whether to file charges.

The incident began about 11 p.m. Thursday at the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, near the 405 Freeway. Beck said three men, all armed, confronted the employees as they were leaving the discount department store, which had just closed. As the incident was unfolding, one of the employees called her husband and told him to call 911.

The LAPD called a tactical alert and closed off the area around the shopping center. When the police department's SWAT officers arrived, they surrounded the store.

At one point, one suspect exited, saw the police and ran back inside. A second suspect walked out with an unidentified woman, saw police and also headed back inside. The officers entered the store at 3:30 a.m. and freed the captives.

At least three of the employees were injured, including one woman who was sexually assaulted. Another woman was stabbed in the neck and sustained non-life-threatening injuries, and a third employee was pistol-whipped, police said. Beck praised the employees for their bravery and composure.

Beck would not discuss whether the robbers hid in the store or gained entrance after it closed. Nor would he say how long they remained in the store before fleeing in a white SUV or discuss how much cash was taken in the robbery.

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-- Andrew Blankstein

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