Two men who police say robbed and pistol whipped their victims – including a pregnant woman – in separate incidents in Cranston, and then holed up in a Warwick motel room with a toddler …
Two men who police say robbed and pistol whipped their victims – including a pregnant woman – in separate incidents in Cranston, and then holed up in a Warwick motel room with a toddler and an infant for several hours while considered “armed and dangerous,” peacefully surrendered following negotiations with police on Tuesday and were due to appear in court on multiple charges Wednesday afternoon.
George Santana, 28, of no known address, faces charges of first-degree robbery, carjacking, and two counts each of carrying a pistol without a permit, possession of firearms after being convicted of a crime of violence, and conspiracy, according to a Wednesday press release from Cranston Police.
Noel Rodriguez, 18, of 292 Knight St. in Providence, is charged with first-degree robbery, carjacking, assault with intent to commit robbery and two counts of conspiracy, the release states.
Both men were due to be arraigned in Third Division District Court on Wednesday afternoon.
The surrender of the two men on Tuesday afternoon at the Motel 6 on Jefferson Boulevard was the culmination of a lengthy series of events outlined by Warwick and Cranston police in separate statements.
According to Cranston Police, a new system of license plate reading cameras installed across their city detected the presence of a Honda CRVA with Maine registration plates in a “undisclosed portion of the city” just after 9:30 p.m. Monday night. The vehicle, police say, “was wanted in a violent armed carjacking incident in Providence and Massachusetts.”
The new cameras, provided by the Georgia-based company Flock Safety, are being utilized in Cranston, Woonsocket and Pawtucket on a trial basis, police from the three communities recently announced. The cameras have drawn concerns from some corners of the community, with privacy and other issues cited. This is the first case in which Cranston Police have publicly announced the use of the cameras in an investigation.
After the Honda CRV was detected, police say, officers “immediately saturated the area searching for the vehicle near the Warwick border and were unsuccessful in locating it.”
Roughly two hours later, Cranston Police say, the camera system located the same vehicle in another “undisclosed location” in their city.
“Attempts to locate the vehicle were unsuccessful as the vehicle was moving around at a very brisk pace avoiding detection,” the Cranston release reads.
It adds: “It was later learned the vehicle was occupied by Noel Rodriguez and George Santana as they were out speeding from city to city looking for victims.”
Hours later, shortly before 2 a.m. on Tuesday, Cranston Police report receiving a 911 call from Whipple Avenue. A male victim told police he had been robbed at gunpoint and pistol whipped by two men who then fled with his iPhone and cash. The man was transported to Rhode Island Hospital for treatment of head injuries, according to police, while Santana and Rodriguez were identified as the suspects.
Roughly an hour later, just after 3 a.m., another 911 call came in from Vinton Street, Cranston Police say. This time, two men had reportedly shot a man, assaulted his wife – who is 9 months pregnant – and stolen their vehicle, described as a white Mercedes.
Officers arriving at the scene determined Santana and Rodriguez were the suspects in this incident as well, police say. It was also determined that the male victim had not actually been shot.
The suspects are said to have followed the victims from a Warwick gas station to their Vinton Avenue home before approaching the couple.
As police describe the events, the suspects took the male victim’s iPhone and cash before “striking him in the head with the gun repeatedly, causing several lacerations to his head.”
“As the male was bleeding profusely and being beaten Rodriguez turned and punched the female who is 9 months pregnant in the face knocking her to the ground,” the statement reads. “The female victim thought her boyfriend had been shot due to witnessing the gun and pistol whipping, however he had not been shot and in the confusion with the blood the female thought he was after witnessing the gun and blood. The gun was never discharged in this incident to clear the inquiries on this matter.”
Cranston Police say authorities in surrounding communities were immediately informed of the incidents and asked to be on the lookout for the suspects.
Soon after, Warwick Police notified their Cranston counterparts the men had been located.
In their press release, Warwick Police said at approximately 5:19 a.m. on Tuesday, Officer Keara Enos, while on a directed patrol in the parking lot of the Motel 6 on Jefferson Boulevard, located an unoccupied vehicle matching the description of a vehicle that Cranston Police had reported as stolen during an armed robbery.
“The officer confirmed this was in fact the same vehicle and soon thereafter she and other officers located two additional stolen vehicles in close proximity in the same parking lot, also unoccupied,” the release reads. “The second vehicle had also been reported stolen out of Cranston and the third out of Providence.”
Additional investigation revealed the people who had driven the vehicles to the motel were thought to still be on scene.
“A particular room was identified and surveillance was conducted,” the release reads. “Two adult females exited the room and building to smoke a cigarette and they were detained.”
Meanwhile, two adult men – later identified as Santana and Rodriguez – were still inside the motel room, along with a toddler and an infant. Both men were “considered armed and dangerous,” the release states.
At that point, the Warwick Police SWAT and crisis negotiation teams were mobilized.
“Crisis negotiators did make contact with the males in the room and continued a dialogue with them for several hours,” the release reads. “The two males, each holding a child, peacefully surrendered to SWAT team members at approximately 2:00 pm.”
Warwick Police said that in addition to their department and Cranston Police, multiple other agencies – including Providence Police, Rhode Island State Police, the Warwick Fire Department and the Explosives Operations Division of the Office of the State Fire Marshal – assisted in the response to the incident.
The statement from Cranston Police indicated Santana and Rodriguez were turned over to Cranston authorities after being taken into custody. Both men are also said to be facing “several charges” from Warwick Police.
“Both suspects were interviewed by several departments to include Cranston Police, Warwick Police, Providence Police, Massachusetts State Police and Killingly-Connecticut Police,” the statement reads. “At this time these suspects have been implicated in armed robberies, violent assaults, vehicle thefts, larcenies and other crimes throughout the region including Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.”
It continues: “The Warwick Police Department and Officer Keara Enos’s diligence and attention to detail was instrumental in the apprehension of these violent offenders who were on a crime spree, randomly and violent robbing victims.”