Accused gangsters nabbed in Sylmar street robberies

By Jason Kandel, Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 04/10/2008 02:30:03 PM PDT

SYLMAR – Five suspected gang members, including a 16-year-old boy, were arrested in connection with a string of at least seven street robberies over the last couple of weeks in the Sylmar area, police said today.

Sunland residents, Miguel Ramos Jr., an 18-year-old auto bodyshop worker, and Melissa J. Graciano, also 18, were arrested April 8 after a hold-up at a Sylmar smoke shop, said Los Angeles Police Officer Christine Mondell. They are accused of stealing a vaporizer used to smoke pot, Mondell said. Both allegedly are members of the Toonerville gang, police said.

They and three others, Francisco J. Carranza, a 20-year-old gardener from Sylmar, Sylvia Medina, 21, a customer service rep from Pacoima, and an unidentified 16-year-old boy are accused of ripping off a couple thousand dollars from at least seven people at gunpoint on the streets of Sylmar over the last two weeks. The 16-year-old is accused of wielding the gun during the heists, Mondell said. He is an alleged member of an up-and-coming gang known as 2XL.

No one was injured in the robberies. The suspects were seen riding in a silver Chrysler 300 and a silver Dodge Intrepid, Mondell said.

When asked why they allegedly did it, Mondell said their reply was “because they felt like doing it.”

The suspects face multiple counts of robbery.

The arrests capped a string of robberies that prompted Mission Division area officers to call for the help of the LAPD’s Violent Crimes Task Force, blankigned to quell crime hot spots around the Valley.

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