Reno Police Make Arrest in Robbery Spree

By: Vicki Nguyen
By: Vicki Nguyen

Police have arrested the men they say robbed several local businesses over the weekend.

Jonathan Doggett, Joseph Crisci, James Ofeldt and Steven Lomeli, along with an unnamed 16-year-old, were arrested Wednesday night around 10 p.m.

They face multiple counts of armed robbery. They hit a pretty wide range of places. Everything from an adult book store to a pizza place.

Police say it looks like a random rash of robberies with little rhyme or reason. And a local criminologist says these types of crimes are more common among a certain group of people.

Surveillance video from Domino's restaurant in Sparks shows the robbers in action. Police say this was the first of four places they hit in the span of three days.

Lt. Ron Holladay of the Reno Police Department says: "It appears to be a spur of the moment weekend crime spree. These are young adults, people not working."

Criminologist Alan Mentzer has spent 26 years in criminal justice. "Half of all violent crime is committed by males under 25."

He says these suspects, ranging in age from 16 to 22, most likely shared a close friendship, one that might have led to an unhealthy, illegal peer pressure.

"Males being more aggressive, more competitive - do they jack each other up? Last time I had the gun, this time you make them give us the money," he says.

Police say several of the suspected robbers have minor criminal backgrounds, including drug charges.

"Substance abuse is hooked to crimes of violence. They're getting their nerves up - getting high or intoxicated first," Holladay says.

Mentzer says there are signs that can help families or parents identify whether their sons are heading down the wrong path.

Mainly - it means paying attention.

Mentzer says some question to ask yourself as a parent are: "Does a 16-year-old need to hang out with a 22-year-old? Who are your children's friends? Where are they? What are they doing?"

In this case, police are now asking the questions and trying to find out why these men went on this crime spree.

Police say it was a Secret Witness tip that led them to the arrests. They are pretty confident they have the right people in custody.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported in these robberies - but damages are estimated in the hundreds of dollars.

And the potential for violence was always there, it's good police were able to make arrests very quickly.


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