Preliminary Hearing Doesn’t Go Well for 6 Defendants Whose Own Text Messages Show Planning of Series of Robberies

By Lauren Smith

SACRAMENTO – Six defendants charged with a series of attempted robberies and burglaries in the Roseville and Sacramento area heard text record evidence implicating them in each of the break-ins in a preliminary hearing at Sacramento County Superior Court on Monday.

According to the district attorney’s office, around 1:30 a.m. on January 6, 2019, a victim of a robbery reported that two men broke into his home. The victims were sleeping in bed when they heard a loud bang. The larger of the men, wearing a dark mask and clothes, entered the bedroom where a couple was sleeping and demanded drugs.

The male victim fought off the suspect, and the bedroom fight spilled into the hallway, where the suspect was thrown over the stairway on the second floor to the first floor, where he lay without moving for a few seconds. The victim said he did not see any injuries on the suspect; however, because he did not immediately move after falling, the victim thought the suspect was injured.

The second and smaller suspect ran down the stairs and out the door when the larger suspect was thrown over the stairway. The male victim raced down the stairs and continued to fight with the larger suspect until he ran from the home. After the fight, the victim realized he had been stabbed five times on his left side and his back.

When interviewed by Deputy Chad Campbell, both victims stated that the men were wearing dark clothing and masks. The female victim stated that she thought the larger suspect around six feet tall, the smaller suspect between 5’5” and 5’8”, and both were black.

Deputy Dina Smith testified that, at the crime scene, she collected a flashlight that did not belong to either of the victims and preserved it for DNA evidence and latent prints. A glove was also located and preserved for DNA evidence. When analyzed, each piece of evidence showed three different DNA profiles. A reference sample of defendant Joshua McCray was compared to the three profiles with the conclusion that he is a potential contributor.

Deputy District Attorney Matthew Moore called Detective James Hart to the stand, who provided evidence through text and phone records that each of the six defendants were involved in four different burglaries in the Sacramento and Roseville areas.

Detective Hart stated that in the early morning of February 19, 2020, a victim was home alone when she heard glass break downstairs. She realized a break-in was occurring and immediately called 911. When the police arrived, there was a window smashed but no evidence that anything was taken.

Around 4 a.m. that same night, the victim, lying wide awake in her room unable to sleep from earlier events that night, heard her side gate open and a male’s voice near the broken window. She called 911 again. When she heard sirens and looked out the window, she saw three suspects run from her side yard to the apartment complex next door.

Detective Hart said that there was a series of text messages between the defendants occurring on the day of this burglary that implicated them in the crime. They sent each other a screenshot of a map with a pinpoint on the victims’ home, discussed potential motion detectors around the home they may need to avoid, and the tools needed to break in.

The texts led Detective Hart to the conclusion that defendants Jose Smith and Anthony Mosqueda discussed the location of the victim’s house and whether to bring spark plugs to break into the window, while defendants Stephan Gee and Timothy Garone discussed helping defendant Jose with “a job” by bringing spark plugs to break in and by acting as a lookout at the victim’s house.

Detective Hart further added that Gee and Garone believed that they would find jewelry in the home.

Additional texts sent on February 24 and 26, 2019, between the defendants show additional plans to commit a burglary on February 26, 2019.

On February 24, 2019, at 12:30 a.m., Garone, acting as a middleman between defendants, texted Gee that his friend Smith “was trying to do a job tonight.” Gee stated that he needed money for rent, and would bring spark plugs to break out the windows in a home. Smith also recruited Mosqueda for that job.

Fox 40 News showed surveillance footage from inside the victim’s home on February 26, 2019, the night of the burglary. The footage depicts a man with tattoos on his face and scalp, wearing gloves, armed with a Glock or semiautomatic weapon. Later, a booking picture of defendant Mosqueda was matched to the surveillance video because of the identical tattoos.

When the Mosqueda residence was searched, gloves that matched the suspect in the video were found. Cell phone records show photos of Mosqueda holding a Glock matching the one in the surveillance video.

The phone records also showed a phone call between Mosqueda and Smith on February 26, 2019, during the time the burglary was being committed.

Mosqueda’s internet history revealed that he searched for “Fox 40 News,” “most wanted,” “surveillance video.” his own name, “how to steal,” and local police department websites.

When defendant Jose Smith’s apartment was searched, shoes belonging to the victim were found. When Detective Hart spoke with Smith, he admitted to being a lookout for the burglary.

Furthermore, pictures exchanged between Garone and Smith, of a laptop and of Garone holding gold chains and a ring in his hand, were later identified as belonging to the victim as well.

On February 27, 2019, another home was burglarized. The victims reported a small safe carrying their passports, birth certificates, and a small amount of cash being stolen.

Surveillance footage shows a black Chrysler, later identified as defendant Gee’s car, pulling up in front of the house, and two suspects getting out of the car. The taller suspect, wearing a red hoodie and beanie, kicked open the front door and both suspects entered the residence. The two suspects were then seen leaving the home carrying a small safe toward the black Chrysler.

Detective Hart noted that one suspect was wearing shorts, and his legs have tattoos on them. The tattoos were later matched to Gee.

When interviewed by law enforcement, Smith’s girlfriend and longtime friend of another defendant, McCray, identified the suspect in the red hoodie and beanie as McCray, noting that he always wears that specific kind of beanie.

Due to the text messages and pictures sent between defendants, they now face burglary charges and varying other charges including attempted robbery, assault with a deadly weapon or instrument, and possession of a firearm by a felon. Their trial is upcoming.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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