Man awaiting trial on gun charges placed on house arrest in armed robbery
Published: January 24, 2013
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ST. CROIX - A 23-year-old man with a history of gun charges and two pending firearms possession charges has been arrested again, this time in connection with an armed robbery in December.
Ramon Cruz, of William's Delight, was arrested Monday and appeared before Magistrate Judge Jessica Gallivan on Tuesday to be advised of his rights on charges of first-degree robbery; possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime; and third-degree assault.
A man reported on Dec. 9 that he was sitting near the Ann Heyliger Vegetable Market on Queen Street in Frederiksted when he was approached, by a man, now identified as Cruz, and another man, who were in a gold Toyota Corolla, according to the police report filed in V.I. Superior Court.
The victim said the men circled the block, and when they came back around, they approached him and stood on either side of him.
He said one man asked him what he had in his pockets, and the second man patted him down, searching him for valuables. The victim said he told the men that all he had was a cigarette and 50 cents to buy a coffee.
The victim said that after the men searched him and found nothing of value, one of the men hit him in his face two times with a black and chrome handgun. The victim was treated at Luis Hospital for injuries that included a broken nose.
Police investigating the robbery said they were on patrol in the Frederiksted area when they saw the gold Corolla and then saw Cruz near the beachfront area of Marley Homes housing community.
Police said Cruz began acting suspiciously when he saw the police cruiser and began walking away from them. Officers ordered him to stop and come back toward them, according to police.
Cruz stopped and put his hand in his right front pocket, and when he was ordered to take his hands out, he pulled out a handgun and dropped it off of a railing and into the sand below, according to the police report.
Officers retrieved the 9 mm handgun, and Cruz was arrested.
He was not initially charged with the robbery at that time, only with the unauthorized possession of a firearm in December. Police said the victim has been able to identify Cruz as one of his assailants and pointed him out in a photo array as one of the two men that robbed him.
Monday marked the eighth time Cruz has been arrested in the last six years, beginning in 2006. He has been charged with tampering with a vehicle; robbery; grand larceny; possession of stolen property; and first-degree murder in connection with a 2007 stabbing in the Festival Village when he was 17. All of those cases had been dismissed.
A misdemeanor assault charge from 2010, and a firearm charge and a felony assault charge from 2011 were consolidated and dismissed when he was allowed to plead guilty to aggravated assault and battery and sentenced to the time he already had served in prison. He still has the two gun possession charges and the robbery charge pending.
On Tuesday, Gallivan approved a motion by the V.I. Public Defender's Office seeking Cruz's release on the latest charge.
In December, Gallivan allowed Cruz's release after he posted 10 percent of the $25,000 bail and placed him on 24-hour house arrest with the use of an electronic monitor. She allowed his release on the same conditions in the new case. He had to post 10 percent of the bail, which had been set at $25,000.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.