Robbed Campers Coast for Help in Shot-At Car; 2 Arrested

After a seven-hour ordeal in which they rolled their bullet-damaged car 15 miles down a mountain road to contact authorities, eight campers Sunday morning helped sheriff's deputies locate and arrest two of three people they said robbed them at gunpoint.

Gina Cox, 26, and Gary Evanger, 37, were arrested in Lake Hughes on Sunday after the victims, several of whom are from Baldwin Park, identified the two as having beaten and robbed them at their campsite in the Angeles National Forest east of Gorman, said Sgt. Steve Jenkins of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The eight victims, described as friends mostly in their 20s, told deputies that Cox, Evanger, and another man drove through the campground in a car about midnight Saturday, Jenkins said. About 3 a.m. Sunday, the victims were awakened by Evanger and the other man, who hit the victims with the butt of a gun and kicked them, Jenkins said.

Evanger and the other man, described as a Lake Hughes resident in his 20s, took $500 from the campers, shot a hole in the radiator of their car in an attempt to disable it, and fled in a van driven by Cox, Jenkins said.

The campers pushed their car out of the campground and jumped in, then coasted down Lake Hughes Road to a spot near Castaic Lake, Jenkins said. They hitchhiked to L.A. County Fire Station No. 149 in Castaic, where they arrived at 10 a.m. and contacted sheriff's deputies, Jenkins said.

Derek Reyna, a firefighter on duty when the eight arrived, said that only one of the robbery victims appeared seriously hurt. He had a cut above his left eye but declined to be taken to the hospital, Reyna said.

Deputies drove the victims back into the national forest, and in Lake Hughes the campers said they spotted the car they had seen driving through the campground Saturday night, according to authorities. Police knocked on the door of the house where the car was parked and arrested Cox and Evanger without incident, Jenkins said.

Deputies recovered a disassembled shotgun, which they believe was used in the robbery, at the house where they found Cox and Evanger, Jenkins said. Deputies were searching for the third suspect.

A friend of one of the eight victims said Sunday that the men did not want to discuss their ordeal.

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