A group of robbers armed with handguns invaded a house, ordered a family of six to kneel in separate corners and took $1,200 cash before a police helicopter scared them away, police said Thursday.
Two suspects were arrested, but three to five other men escaped, police said.
Hung Phan, 21, said his family was watching television about 9:40 p.m. Wednesday in the 14000 block of Nevada Drive when his father saw a shadow flicker by the front window.
His father, 53, went outside and was grabbed by several youths in front of his garage, but he was able to yell for his family to lock the doors, Phan said.
“The lock to our back door is weak,” he said, “and some of them must have hidden back there because then they kicked it in.”
As the robbers forced their way through both front and back doors, one dragging Phan’s father and all carrying weapons from revolvers to Uzi-style handguns, Phan escaped through a door in his bedroom that led outside and called police from a neighbor’s house.
In the meantime, the robbers were demanding money from his parents, younger brother, eldest sister and her husband, Police Lt. Luis Ochoa said.
Brandishing guns, they made family members kneel and took cash, several wallets and the sister’s wedding ring, Phan said. The Phans received bruises and other minor injuries as the men hit and pushed them.
When the attackers heard helicopter sounds, they ran in different directions, but the officers aboard were able to spot two suspects and directed police cars to them. The other three to five escaped.
Qui Van Ly, 18, of San Diego and Tung Thanh Nguyen, 21, of Westminster were arrested on suspicion of robbery, burglary and possession of firearms in commission of a felony, Ochoa said. They are held in lieu of $50,000 bail each.
Ly was armed with a loaded revolver, and Nguyen had a loaded semiautomatic pistol which resembled an Uzi-style handgun, police said. They did not have the stolen goods.
Hung Phan said that his family has been renting the house and that the neighborhood is usually quiet. But in the last several days, family members began noticing the same car driving back and forth.
“That’s why we got the bright light there,” he said, pointing to the light above his front door. “It was on last night, and that’s how my father was able to see the shadow.”
Neighbor Colleen Motshagen, 28, said her family had heard the police helicopter but did not realize there was a robbery in the neighborhood.
“We’ve lived here for 27 years and there’s been only one other robbery,” she said.
Officers searched the area and were talking with the Phans until about 1 a.m., Hung Phan said.
“We couldn’t sleep,” he said.
“Now, we’re looking at different locks to put in,” Phan said. “We’ve only heard it happening to other people. It was a first for us.”