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Five charged in Nordstrom Rack take-over robbery

 Police officers stand outside Nordstrom Rack following take-over style robbery. Credit: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times

Prosecutors charged five people Tuesday in connection with the take-over robbery at a Nordstrom Rack department store in Westchester, where 14 employees were held hostage, including two who were assaulted.

Troy Marsay Hammock, 29, and Everett Oneal Allen, 24, face 14 counts each of second-degree robbery and one count each of assault with a deadly weapon, identified as a knife, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Five charged in Nordstrom Rack take-over robbery

Rochelle Monique Sherman, 33; and Paula Roneshia Bradley, 29, were charged with one count each of accessory after the fact.

DOCUMENT: Read the criminal complaint 

Raymond Sherman Jr., 34, who authorities said was the principle suspect and the most violent in the group, was charged with two counts of forcible rape, one count of oral copulation, one count of kidnapping for rape, one count of assault with a deadly weapon and 14 counts of second-degree robbery.

The complaint also alleges that Sherman, who is awaiting extradition from Phoenix, where he was arrested Saturday, used a handgun in the commission of the crimes.

Police have not detailed the exact roles of the suspects in the robbery and hostage situation. But law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation said there is strong evidence linking the suspects to the crime, including physical evidence and security video.

The incident began about 11 p.m. Thursday at the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, near the 405 Freeway. Sherman, Hammock and Allen allegedly confronted the employees as they were leaving the 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, a 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 at least 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. LAPD Chief Charlie 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

Photo: Police officers stand outside Nordstrom Rack following take-over style robbery. Credit: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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