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Fake kidnapping concealed real robbery, Burbank police say

Fake kidnapping concealed real robbery, Burbank police say
The Burbank Police Department is looking into a suspected kidnapping scheme that was used to commit a robbery in the parking lot of a Home Depot. (Burbank Leader)

A man and woman are under investigation by Burbank police for allegedly committing a robbery late last month disguised as a fake kidnapping.

Two women had just driven to the Home Depot at 1200 Flower St. at about 4:15 p.m. July 29 when their vehicle was approached by two armed men who demanded their purses. One of the men went up to the passenger side window and shattered the glass with his gun and struck one of the women, according to Sgt. Derek Green, a spokesman with the Burbank Police Department.

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The men then grabbed the other woman, forced her into a vehicle and fled from the scene.

Green said the incident happened in broad daylight and in full view of several bystanders.

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The initial investigation revealed the abducted woman’s ex-boyfriend was allegedly the culprit. Detectives identified the former couple as Sylvia Silva-Cerebros, 26, of North Hills and 26-year-old Jesus Lomeli of Pacoima.

They were eventually found together several hours later outside a Canoga Park home linked to Lomeli. Green said Silva-Cerebros denied being involved in a robbery and kidnapping after she and Lomeli were approached by detectives.

“Claiming not to have known the other female and not to have known about a kidnapping … that’s when suspicions grew,” he said.

Authorities soon determined Silva-Cerebros was involved in concocting the kidnapping scheme with Lomeli and the other man, who has not yet been identified, to rob the woman she was with.

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It’s unknown what connection Silva-Cerebros had to the other woman, Green said.

Lomeli and Silva-Cerebros were placed under arrest and charged with robbery by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Green said no firearms were recovered at the Canoga Park home and detectives did not find any personal items belonging to the woman who was robbed.

He added the car the women used to drive to Home Depot belonged to neither woman and was registered to a person living in Northern California.

The case remains under investigation.

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