ANATOMY OF A ROBBERY: PART I

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Law Enforcement Deputies Give Witness Testimonies for T-Mobile and Verizon Store Robbery

By Tiffany Devlin

SACRAMENTO – Four deputy law enforcement officers and a detective from the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department gave witness testimony last week in a preliminary hearing at Sacramento County Superior Court about a one-day mobile phone store robbery spree.

Co-defendants Glenn Burgler and David Fritz are charged in a four-count felony complaint with robbing a T-Mobile store and a Verizon store on June 10, 2018. Burgler is alleged to have been personally armed with a handgun. It is alleged the duo stole $39,000 worth of cell phones.

Defense attorney Carmen Butler, representing Burgler, objected multiple times, claiming that there is no evidence that Fritz or Burgler actually sent the text messages observed in court.

“These are messages that someone sent from a phone labeled, on one phone, David Walmart. There’s no last name, it’s not David Fritz, and even if it is Mr. Fritz’s phone number, there’s no proof that Mr. Fritz is the person who is actually sending the text messages,” argued Butler.

During Deputy District Attorney Matthew Moore’s direct examination, Deputy Stevi Zigler claimed that she spoke with a T-Mobile employee who was one of the victims in the robbery, reporting that the T-Mobile employee and a customer were forced into a back room while a gun was pointed at them.

The gunman told the employee to unlock the back door, however, the employee said that her partner was the only one with access. She told the gunman not to be alarmed if her partner comes through the back door.

The gunman took both the customer’s and the employee’s cell phones. A second suspect came into the store, yelling at the gunman saying that they needed to leave. The gunman then dropped the two cell phones and ran out.

Zigler stated that the gunman and the second suspect were both wearing all black and were seen wearing black motorcycle helmets. Butler cross-examined, asking if the employee gave deputy Zigler a description of the suspects’ weights, heights, or races, however Zigler did not recall indication of any of those descriptions.

Defense attorney John Gonzalez, representing Fritz, cross-examined, asking which code and which door the gunman was referring to. Deputy Zigler did not recall, and also did not recall whether the interaction took place in the back room or in the front of the store.

Moore called Deputy David Conger, who said a customer saw two motorcycles pull up: one black and yellow Harley-Davidson with two people riding it, and one red and black Yamaha G6 with one person. All three motorcyclists were wearing all black.

The recollection of the robbery was similar to Zigler’s since the customer and employee were in the same room, except that the customer heard someone say, “Face the wall.” He turned around to see a male subject with a black Glock-style handgun, wearing a black helmet and a black leather jacket.

When Butler questioned Conger about further descriptions of the culprits, he claimed that he did not ask, and did not have any other descriptions. The customer also did not give any indication of any height differences between the culprits.

Deputy Conger recalled that the customer did not actually see a second person come into the store, nor did he know what was said when he heard someone yell after the customer’s and the employee’s phones were taken. Furthermore, the customer did not see what direction the culprit in the store went toward once he left.

Deputy Lacey Nelson was next to testify, and claimed to have spoken to a different employee who was walking back from his lunch break.

The employee saw the two motorcycles and the three suspects, giving the same descriptions as prior testimony from Conger and Zigler. The employee was walking back from Raley’s when he saw through the window one suspect holding a gun to his co-worker and the customer.

After the employee called 911, he saw the gunman get on one of the motorcycles. All three suspects drove off.

Deputy Nelson claimed that the employee was standing approximately 10-15 feet close to the motorcycles, which was not indicated in her police report. Deputy Nelson also claimed that the employee saw the gunman go inside the store, while the other two suspects were on the motorcycles.

Nelson stated that the employee did not give any descriptors whatsoever of the subjects on the Harley-Davidson, nor on the Yamaha. The employee only said that the first suspect with the gun was seen wearing all black and a full-face motorcycle helmet.

The employee did not give any description in regard to what the two suspects on the motorcycles were doing outside, nor did he tell Nelson if he remained in a position where he could see the store in order to see what was happening.

The employee also did not indicate that the two suspects outside ever got off their motorcycles. When Gonzalez questioned Nelson about whether one of the suspects got off their motorcycle to go inside the store and yell that they needed to leave, Nelson said that there was no indication from the employee of that happening.

Moore then called Deputy Calvin Penwell, who said he spoke with an employee at the Verizon store, where the employee stated they saw two male suspects walk in.

The first suspect was described by the employee to be six feet tall and approximately 220 pounds, wearing a black full-face helmet with the word “scorpion” in gold lettering on the left side. The subject was also seen wearing a face mask and gloves, with a darker skin tone seen under the nose area. The handle of a handgun was seen in his front waistband.

The second suspect was six feet and two inches, approximately 230-240 pounds. He was wearing all dark clothing, gloves, and a full-face clown motorcycle helmet. No handgun was seen.

“He (the employee) said the first subject walked up to him, made a comment along the lines of ‘you know what this is,’ and made a motion toward the gun in the front waistband and told him to give him his phone and to basically give him access to the safe where the phones were located,” said Penwell.

The employee gave the first suspect his phone and took both suspects to the safe in the back room. There was a 10-minute delay in opening the safe, to which one suspect said it was okay and waited.

The first suspect asked where the tracker phone was, and the employee separated the tracker phone. The suspect then loaded a black and blue colored duffel bag with the cell phones from the safe.

When Moore asked if the second suspect assisted, Butler objected after Penwell was seen reading directly from his report on the Zoom call. Penwell continued to answer after refreshing his memory, to which he stated that both suspects put the phones in the duffel bag.

Once the cell phones were loaded, Penwell said that the gunman directed both the employee and his manager to wait in the bathroom, which is also located in the back room of the store. The gunman gave the employee’s phone back after he asked for it back.

Moore asked if the employee indicated the monetary value of the phones taken, to which Penwell responded $39,000. Moore also asked if the employee recalled the suspects appearing to communicate with a third party via Bluetooth, to which they were.

Butler began questioning Penwell, asking if there were any motorcycles. Penwell said that the employee did not recall seeing any motorcycles outside. The employee stated that he did not see the two culprits until they were inside the store.

When Butler asked if the employee saw anyone else outside in regard to the third party on the Bluetooth device, Penwell said he did not. Penwell also said yes when Butler asked if they could have been talking to someone at a totally separate location.

Gonzalez asked Penwell if the gun ever left the first suspect’s waistband. Penwell said that the gun was never pulled out, nor was it used to point at the employee or demand anything.

When Gonzalez asked about the tracker phone, Penwell said that the suspect with the “scorpion” lettering on his helmet was the one who asked about the tracker phone.

That was the testimony for the day.


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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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