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3 Men Held in Early-Morning Home Robbery

A couple arriving home from an out-of-town trip were confronted by robbers in the garage of their central Simi Valley house early Friday, police said.

Police say the three robbers--one toting a gun--had followed them to their upper-middle-class neighborhood just before 3 a.m.

“I was very frightened,” said the wife Friday afternoon. “You think you live in a safe neighborhood. And then this.”

After the couple got out of their car, two men--one of them armed with a .25-caliber handgun--ran into the garage and demanded money, police say. The couple complied and the men fled to a waiting car, a Simi Valley Police Department spokesman said.

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The couple, who have requested anonymity because they fear for their safety, called police, and officers stopped a car on Tierra Rejada Road at Village Parkway about 10 minutes later.

Police arrested Tyrone Davis, 19, of Panorama City; Wallace Hughes, 19, of Lancaster; and Cleeon Waller, 20, of Pacoima. Police say they found a loaded .25-caliber handgun and $100 in cash, as well as a stolen credit card in the car. The three men were booked into the Ventura County Jail on suspicion of armed robbery.

“Follow-home robberies are not at all common here, but obviously they do occur,” said Simi Valley Police Department spokesman Lt. Neal Rein. “In situations such as this, a little bit of prevention is always worth a pound of cure.”

Rein complimented the couple, who complied with the robbers’ requests and did nothing to make them angry, on their response to the terrifying situation.

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Safety Tips

In the rare cases of follow-home robberies, Lt. Neal Rein of the Simi Valley Police Department says a bit of prevention goes a long way.

If you think you are being followed:

* Stay alert. Check the rearview mirror as you pull onto your street. See who is behind you. If you think an unfamiliar car is following you, drive past your house to see if it continues following you, Rein says. If the car is still behind you, drive to the nearest police station or to an open, well-lighted, crowded area that would be unappealing to would-be robbers, such as a supermarket. “The last thing you want to do is go to a desolate place or pull over and stop,” he says.

If you are robbed:

* Cooperate. Be nonconfrontational. “Do what they say,” Rein says. “Don’t make them angry. Give them whatever property they want. Any property you may have is replaceable. Your life and your health are not.”

* Be observant. While it is easy to overlook details under duress, try to notice the robbers’ faces, clothing, automobile and weapons. When they leave, note which direction they are driving. “The citizen’s personal safety, obviously, is No. 1,” Rein said. “But they can be of great assistance [to police] if they’re observant. Being able to identify the suspect helps us find the person and prosecute successfully.”

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* Call the police. “Once the suspects are gone, hit 911 as fast as you can,” Rein said.


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