Woman repeatedly raped inside Nordstrom, police allege




 Police officers stand outside Nordstrom Rack following take-over style robbery. Credit: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times



Prosecutors said one of the five people charged in connection with the
take-over robbery at a Nordstrom Rack department store in Westchester raped one of the female hostages.


Prosecutors offered no details. But a district attorney's office spokeswoman said the victim was sexually assaulted "multiple times."



Five charged in Nordstrom Rack take-over robbery


Raymond Sherman Jr., 34, who authorities said was the most violent in the group, was charged with two counts
of forcible rape, one count of
oral copulation, one count of kidnapping for rape, one count of assault
with a
deadly weapon and 14 counts of second-degree robbery.


DOCUMENT: Read the criminal complaint 


Troy Marsay Hammock, 29, and Everett Oneal Allen, 24, face 14 counts
each of second-degree robbery and one count each of assault with a
deadly weapon, identified as a knife, according to the Los Angeles
County district attorney's office.


Rochelle Monique Sherman, 33; and Paula Roneshia Bradley, 29, were charged with one count each of accessory after the fact.


The complaint also alleges Sherman, who is awaiting extradition from Phoenix, where he was
arrested Saturday, used a handgun in the commission of the crimes.


Police have not detailed the roles of the suspects in the
robbery and hostage situation. But those in law enforcement familiar with
the investigation said there is strong evidence linking the crimes to those charged, including physical evidence and security video.







The incident began about 11 p.m. Thursday at the Promenade at Howard
Hughes Center, near the 405 Freeway. Sherman, Hammock and Allen
allegedly confronted the employees as they were leaving the store, which
had just closed.



As the incident was unfolding, one of the employees called her
husband and told him to call 911. The LAPD called a tactical alert and
closed off the area around the shopping center. When the police
department's SWAT officers arrived, they surrounded the store.


At one point, one of the suspected burglars exited, saw the police and ran back inside. A
second suspected burglar walked out with an unidentified woman, saw police and
also headed back inside. The officers entered the store at 3:30 a.m. and
freed the captives.


At least three of the employees were injured, including at least one
woman who was sexually assaulted. Another woman was stabbed in the neck
and sustained non-life-threatening injuries, and a third employee was
pistol-whipped, police said. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck praised the
employees for their bravery and composure.



Beck would not discuss whether the robbers hid in the store or gained
entrance after it closed. Nor would he say how long they remained in the
store before fleeing in a white SUV, or discuss how much cash was taken
in the robbery.


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Talk back: Can clinicians help pedophiles quell their desires?


--Andrew Blankstein



Photo: Police officers stand outside Nordstrom Rack in Westchester following take-over style robbery. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times


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