Donations Pour In for Family Robbed in Home Invasion : Crime: Gunmen terrorize couple, daughter, then steal car, valuables and gifts. Community tries to ‘give Christmas back’ to them.


Several gunmen tied up and beat a Westminster couple early Friday, ransacked their house of Christmas gifts and other valuables, then loaded up the loot and fled in the family’s BMW, police said.

The robbery prompted an outpouring of support from community members, who donated cash and presents in an effort to “give Christmas back to the family,” Police Lt. Andrew Hall said.

“If there’s a silver lining to every dark cloud, this is it,” he said.

Police Officer Gary Hooper said the robbery began about 2 a.m. when as many as four men in their 20s entered the family’s house in the 14400 block of Strait Place through the garage and burst into the bedrooms where the couple and their 11-year-old daughter were asleep.


The assailants woke up the victims, tied up the parents with duct tape and electrical cords and pistol-whipped them, but did not injure the girl, Hooper said. They also repeatedly kicked the husband, Thang Nguyen, 38, Hooper said.

“They kept the family at gunpoint while they ransacked the house and opened up all the Christmas presents,” he said.

The gifts, money, jewelry and stereo equipment were then loaded into the family’s white convertible BMW, license plate number 2WSS617.

“This is such a random thing, and anybody could have been a victim,” Hall said.

The men spent about two hours in the house. Police Officer Ron Velez said the daughter, who was not tied up, ran to a neighbor for help after the men left the house. When the officers arrived, the family was “shaken and in pain,” Velez said.

The parents were taken to Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center, where they were treated for their injuries and released. Nguyen suffered a fracture and internal injuries, a hospital spokeswoman said. His wife, Chi Vu, 32, suffered lacerations to the top of her head, Velez said. The daughter, whose name was withheld, stayed at the hospital with her parents, but required no medical treatment.

There were no suspects, and no arrests have been made.

Nguyen’s brother, Tien Nguyen, said: “The family is very upset right now, and they don’t want to talk to the press.”


Police and family members said it is possible that the robbers followed Vu home from work at a local restaurant and staked out the house before entering.

“I think they had been watching the family for a while,” Tien Nguyen said. “And when they knew the family had gone to bed, they broke in.”

Hall said television reports of the robbery prompted people from as far as Santa Monica to contact the Westminster Police Department to donate money and gifts to the family. By about 2 p.m., Hall said he had received several hundred dollars in cash and dozens of wrapped Christmas gifts, including a brand-new mountain bike for the girl, which were later presented to the family.

“Christmas is a time for children, and this little girl is in trauma,” said David Menahem, manager of a bicycle shop who decided to donate the bike after seeing the news report. “I was very upset by it, so I wanted to do my part in making her happy.”

City Councilman Tony Lam, who helped deliver three large stuffed animals and supermarket gift certificates, said Vu told him through an intermediary that the family was grateful for the gifts.

“They are very appreciative,” Lam said. “But they say they are in a state of shock. To take away toys from an 11-year-old girl like that--it’s inhuman.”