Alleged Armenian Gang Members Charged In Craigslist Robbery
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Two San Fernando Valley men faced robbery charges Tuesday after they allegedly held a man at gunpoint and stole an iPhone during a meeting set up through Craigslist.
Levon Iskandaryan, 23, and Mambreh Khachian, 33, were arrested after meeting up with a Panorama City man who advertised computer equipment for sale on Craigslist, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Iskandaryan and Khachian showed up with a third suspect at a McDonald’s restaurant at 9107 Van Nuys Blvd. around 8 p.m. on Aug. 3 and made contact with the victim in the parking lot, police said.
When Iskandaryan saw the seller was holding an iPhone 5, he allegedly coerced the man to a nearby vehicle by claiming the rear passenger was pointing a gun at him, according to police.
The victim followed Iskandaryan to a gray Toyota Solara, where Khachian was holding a gun and a third man was seated in the driver’s seat, police said. Iskandaryan then grabbed the phone from the victim, and the two engaged in a brief struggle.
When the victim lost his grip on the phone, the car door shut, but caught his clothing and dragged him for several feet as the car sped away, tearing his clothes and scraping and burning his skin, according to police.
Detectives pinged the phone and traced the signal to a house in the 7900 block of Hillrose Street in Sunland.
Officers went to the residence and spotted the gray Toyota, but waited until Khachian left the house in the vehicle around midnight to detain him, according to police.
Officers conducted a search of the house, where police say Iskandaryan lived with his parents, and found Iskandaryan inside. Since he was on probation for other crimes, officers were able to search the house without a warrant, but did not find any iPhone.
Police say before their arrests, Iskandaryan and Khachian went back to Craigslist and contacted a person who listed a want ad for an iPhone 5. They later met the potential buyer at a Starbucks in Glendale and sold the stolen iPhone for $350.
“There’s nothing new from this angle of crooks targeting sellers for robbery, but it’s what they did afterward to sell the stolen phone that surprised us,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division.
Police say both men were documented members of AP, or Armenian Power, a local street gang. Neither Khachian and Iskandaryan would provide police with the name of the third man, who was driving the car.
The man, described as Armenian with a chrome bracelet and green eyes, was allegedly dropped off in North Hollywood after the robbery, but before the phone was fenced, according to police.
Iskandaryan and Khachian were booked for armed robbery and their bails were each set at $125,000.
Police hope that by publicizing this case, the unwitting buyer will come forward and surrender the iPhone so detectives don’t have to track it down. They also believe there may be additional victims and unwitting buyers linked to the suspects.
Anyone with information about the suspects or the case was urged to call Mission Robbery detectives, at (213)838-9898 or visit LAPDOnline.org.