Man Lured into Pulling Over to Help Stranded Family, Ends Up Robbed at Gunpoint – Suspect Held without Bail

By Annette Wong-Toi

SACRAMENTO, CA — Earlier this year, a man pulled over on the highway to help what seemed to be a stranded family.  In the end, he ended up being robbed of $1,500 at gunpoint.

Tuesday, Florin Guta appeared in Sacramento County Superior Court Dept. 61 for bail review concerning the armed robbery that he had allegedly committed.

The defense began by stating that the accused’s bail, set at $200,000, was too high. His attorney stated that he had four children and washed cars for a living, which would make paying this amount difficult.

However, Deputy District Attorney Kitty Tetrault requested that Guta be held in custody without bail, stating that he was a danger to the public and posed an intense flight risk. She went on to detail the complex nature of the alleged crime. 

The defendant, the DDA claimed, had posed on the side of the road to lure his victim into thinking that he needed assistance. When the victim pulled over, Guta stated that he needed help and offered to sell him jewelry. 

The victim, willing to buy from him, went with the defendant to a nearby bank and withdrew $1,500 to make his payment. Before continuing, the victim requested that the jewelry be checked out at a pawn shop. 

Defendant Guta agreed to this, and the pair began driving to the pawn shop. However, the defendant stated that he needed to return to his car, and the victim started to take him back. 

At this point, the defendant drew a firearm and “demanded that he give him the money he’d taken out” at the bank, and walked away with all $1,500 of the victim’s money.

The deputy district attorney also suggested that this crime could have been linked with a series of other similar robberies, as noted by detectives.

DDA Tetrault noted the car used by the defendant was rented from Texas. He also had multiple connections around the world, with two driver’s licenses issued from Canada and Florida, and a permanent residence listed in Maryland. 

He is also a Romanian citizen with an alien removal request being processed in Chula Vista, California. Detectives have also requested his nationwide extradition. 

Considering the factual basis of the alleged crime, his connections with different states and countries, and criminal history, the DDA reiterated that he be held in custody with no bail.

Criminal defense lawyer David Knoll insisted that bail still be set at a lower amount, despite what had been presented. He argued that the bail should be set according to the crime, not on hearsay that had been written in police reports.

In light of the arguments presented, Judge Geoffrey Goodman stated that, although the defendant’s connections around the country (and internationally) are not illegal, they do make it difficult to predict his ability to show up for trial. 

“The most important thing,” the judge added, “is the nature of the offense itself. It is a robbery of a substantial amount of money. A very sophisticated, planned out, premeditated robbery, and it involved a firearm.” 

Stating that in order to ensure public safety and assure the defendant’s future appearance in court, Judge Goodman declared that the suspect be held without bail. Guta is set to reappear in court again on Aug. 31. 

About The Author

Annette Wong-Toi is a third-year student at UC Davis studying Psychology and Communication. If she isn't learning how to play a new instrument or taking a nap, she's probably feeding the stray cats outside her apartment. She hopes to develop her listening and communication skills to be a better student, writer, and friend.

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