Who needs college when budding young Tucsonans have home invasions

While thousands of fresh-faced students are celebrating their graduation from colleges across the nation, other young Tucsonans are embarking on their own job paths.

Williams/TPD photo

Heath Williams, 18/TPD photo

A career in home invasions.

Tucson police recently made seven arrests in three separate home invasion incidents, with one of the most notable factors as the suspects’ ages.

All ranged from 17 to 22 – a time when many law-abiding young people are either in school, working or at least getting money legally by mooching off their parents.

Perhaps, as TC.com blogger Renee Schafer-Horton pointed out in her blog about brain development, these guys were too young to have a properly developed frontal lobe. That’s the part responsible for decision-making and impulse control that some surmise is not fully developed until age 26.

Or maybe these budding young criminals just see how a life of bursting into homes with firearms can be a bit more exciting than sitting in an office all day.

After all, they would get to pick their own hours, largely determine their own pay and not have to worry about things like paper cuts and office politics.

McCoy/TPD photo

McCoy/TPD photo

Nor do they need to attend college for such a career where advancement is determined from firearm size and savvy, rather than things like degrees. Training comes from friends, maybe family and, if they are caught, free lessons from fellow inmates.

Holness/TPD photo

Pierre Holness, 22/TPD photo

But they’d be off to a more successful start of their careers if they steered clear of police.

Tucson police arrested Pierre Holness, 22, as well as Heath Williams and Domonick McCoy, both 18, for two separate home invasions at 2525 W. Anklam Road, according to a news release from the Tucson Police Department.

The first was on May 5 around 9:30 p.m., when two of the three allegedly busted into an apartment and pistol-whipped its resident, demanding drugs and money. The resident was able to get away and call police while the thieves took off with “miscellaneous items” from the home.

Perhaps since the thieves got away with it once, they targeted the same home May 11.

homeinv2-Ernesto Flores

Ernesto Flores, 21/TPD photo

This time two thieves struck early – before 7 a.m. – and used the same M.O. They demanded drugs and money from a resident while holding the resident at gunpoint.

Police followed some leads and rounded up the trio. All three were booked into Pima County Jail on charges of armed robbery, aggravated robbery and kidnapping.

Please keep in mind that filling out job applications is much more troublesome than having authorities fill in all the information for you on those jail booking slips.

You even get your picture taken for free – and you don’t have to wear that silly mortarboard.

Figueroa/TPD photo

Richard Figueroa, 17/TPD photo

Four more were arrested for conspiracy to commit armed robbery just after midnight on April 29, according to another Tucson police news release.

The four were Ernesto Flores Jr., 21; Adrian C. Apalategui, 18; Javier R. Herrera Jr., 19; and Ricardo A. Figueroa, 17.

A police sergeant pulled their car over for a traffic stop in the 400 block of East Speedway. Although all claimed to have no ID on them, police were able to determine Flores’ identity – as well as the fact that he had a felony warrant out for his arrest.

As the sergeant was getting Flores out of the car he noted a weapon, mask and gloves in the passenger area. Busted.

Herrera/TPD photo

Javier Herrera, 19/TPD photo

All four were then detained, with the other three identities learned later. A later search of the vehicle also produced more weapons and “additional suspicious items.”

Apalategui/TPD photo

Adrian Apalategui, 18/TPD photo

Police even found out the home they were expecting to invade, in the same area where their car was stopped, and spoke to the intended victim. They were allegedly targeting the victim because they thought there were drugs and money in the house.

Yes, busting into a home in the dead of night beats the heck out of sitting through those banal job interview things.

Unless, of course, you’re caught.



wb-logolilWhat do you think?

Does crime ever pay?

How do you instill non-criminal values in your own kids?

Should all criminals under age 18 be considered juveniles?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
This entry was posted in Crime, danger, death, gross stuff, life, Stupidity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Who needs college when budding young Tucsonans have home invasions

  1. andrew says:

    Why can’t we arrest these gang members? It’s easy to see the outfits they wear look like table cloths from the Tucson Inn, or would that be racial profiling? “chores pleasure” I.T.C.

    • Rynski says:

      dear chores pleasure,
      i thought the outfits were the ‘graduation gowns’ into a life of crime….but you’re right, they do look more like tablecloths (although they do make me always think of barber/haircut aprons).
      and hey! there is NO mention that these young, studious chaps were gang members. they were nabbed by home invasion detectives, not gang detectives.

      • Jim Kelley says:

        Uhh people, those cloths are draped over then at the time the mug shot is taken at booking. It covers any clothes with trademarks or gang insignia, it also focus a person to the face in the mug book instead of the clothes so people don’t discriminate in their choice when looking at mug shots. Just saying.

      • Rynski says:

        oh, jim, we were just joshing. no self-respecting barber would ever pick such a color for a haircut apron.

      • andrew says:

        Oh Jim is right, Not fair to you Jim, Your the new kid on the block, My apologies. Have a FAR*LOG on me. Over here we express our captchas thusly, “revolts throwing”

      • azmouse says:

        Us hairdressers prefer something way more cool…zebra or leopard print?

      • Rynski says:

        yaaay! take him up on the free FAR*LOG jim, they are the best things since sliced avocado!

      • Rynski says:

        azmouse – the zebra print hair aprons are my fave! i was writing about spa uniforms for some freelance article and noted all the jazzy smocks available, too.

      • Jennatoolz says:

        If people getting a mug shot taken were draped with animal print cloths, it would make looking at said mug shots more enjoyable! At least it would for me, anyway. Hahah 😀

      • azmouse says:


      • Rynski says:

        hahah! i say drape them in gold lame!

      • azmouse says:

        Gold lame would be so glamorous…until perm solution, hair color and just plain old water turned it green. HA

  2. Ferraribubba says:

    Yea, sad to say, I’ve been mugged twice. The first time by a .357 cal. Magnum, and the second time by my ex-wife, ‘the Little Lady.’
    Both times I was cleaned out!
    Yere pal, Ferrari Bubba

    • Rynski says:

      ohhh, those ex-spouse muggings can be the worst!
      they don’t even need a gun to get all the goods – haha.
      someone stole a decorative peace sign from my tucson front yard…and someone else stole a piece of art from retail store where it was being sold.
      at least all stolen artwork gets automatically cursed with bad luck for the thief, so i know the karma will come around…. (at least twice people have stolen my lucky voodoo dolls…)

  3. azmouse says:

    One of my biggest fears is a home invasion, and I’m all for severe punishment for these types of people.

    Then there’s the Mom in me who looks at those pictures and I see little boys. I wonder what their home life has been like, if they were raised around gangs, drugs/alcohol, etc. I know that isn’t an excuse either for turning out the way they did, but I still wonder.

    There is someone I’ve known for a few years named Juan. He describes his childhood in Mexico as being pimped out as early as he can remember, to men by his Father. He claims when he was too old to do that (around 10) his Dad starting using him as a drug mule, got him in his (Dad’s) gang and he was made to participate in all kinds of criminal behavior.
    Juan recently got out of prison. He got 3 years for an assualt and kidnapping for beating up someone who owed the gang drug money.
    He is 23 years old.

    I know this sounds like an oxymoron, but he’s such a sweet kid to me and I can’t hardly imagine he was capable of all he did. But I do have sympathy for ‘the child’ he was that probably went through allot, yet I despise anyone who can hurt another human being the way he did.

    It’s just such a mixed bag for me…..

    • Rynski says:

      wow, azmouse – juan’s story is a heartbreaking one.
      can definitely see the mixed bag dilemma, esp. since you know he has a whole other side. some kids just never get to be kids – or seem to even have a chance at escaping the throngs of crime.
      what caught my eye in all these home invasion suspects was definitely the child look – esp. williams who looks about 12.
      these are not the hardened criminals we often see in mug shots – but, as mentioned, if they get too deep into the system i’ll bet they could very well end up that way in no time at all.
      …and that still doesn’t answer the question/dilemma of upbringing and environmental factors that often lead to a life of crime vs no sympathy for those who hurt/rob/kill others.
      very thought-provoking – and scary – points!

      • azmouse says:

        When you have kids that are teens or young adults, the lack of parental responsibility I’ve seen has boggled my mind.

        My youngest son, a 17 year old high school junior, has had friends’ who’s stories are insane.
        One of his friends is living with her Dad’s ex-girlfriend. Mom claims not to have the room for her, and Dad and Grandparents could care less.
        Another friend was living with his Mom (a drug addict) who beat him and threw him down a flight of stairs, so he went to go live with his Dad, who recently got out of prison for being an identity thief. This boy showed up on my doorstep at 11pm because his Dad came home drunk and told him to get out.

         My son’s latest girlfriend, who spent allot of time over here, because she didn’t have the best home life, although she didn’t complain, well her Mother lost custody of her for the abuse and because she’s a drug addict, is now in a shelter somewhere in the custody of CPS. This just happened Monday of this week. We haven’t heard from her and have no idea where she is or how to find out. I promised I’d do whatever I could to help her….get her a court advocate, let CPS do a background check on me so she could stay here, anything so she could have some normalcy in her life. (her Dad is dead, by the way. A heroin overdose)

        This is all happening in nice neighborhoods to kids our children go to school with every day.
        I think some kids/people will turn out bad no matter how great their childhood was. But I just see so many who don’t have a chance and are raising themselves, and they are not capable of doing that correctly.

      • Rynski says:

        wow again –
        these are ALL heartbreaking stories.
        it is soooo sad. what a life some kids have – or lack thereof. you are very kind (understatement) to do what you can to help these kids. again, azmouse, you continue to amaze.

      • Jennatoolz says:

        How awful! I never understood how a parent could kick their kids out of the house. When I was in junior high, my best friends mom kicked her out because they got into a big argument. I asked my mom if she could stay over at our house so we went and picked her up. Later on that night, police came to our door and took her back home. It saddens me each time I hear of a kid either being kicked out on the streets like that.

        I wish you luck with helping that poor girl with her situation. I’m sure you’ve heard this many times before…you have a huge loving heart azmouse! I admire that 😀

      • azmouse says:

        Well, I know you guys would be the same way! 🙂

        I know you and Aaron plan on having kids some day Jenna. Once those kids start kindergarten, you’ll probably be put in some of the same situations I’ve found myself in. You’ll either decide you can’t save every kid in the world (which is what I want to do!) or you’ll figure you can help this particular kid out at this particular time. You’ll probably be the same as me and try to help.

        Your daughter will have a friend who will walk miles at 5 yrs old to come over and play, then want to spend the night. You’ll tell her she has to call and ask her Mom, and she’ll tell you her Mom doesn’t care, but you call her mom anyway. She was right, her Mom doesn’t care if she spends the night and didn’t even care where she was. (Hailey, a friend of my daughters. A Mom at 14 and dead of a drug overdose at 17)

        You’ll meet little boys who end up hanging at your house every day till dark, because either no one is home till they get out of work or they lock him out till dark because they can’t deal with him. If it wasn’t for you, there would be no after school snack, no bathroom to use or a drink of water. ( My son’s friend, Julio. He joined a gang in middle school and is now in prison)
        Or the neighbor kid who climbs out of his bedroom window every morning to come to your house for breakfast because he can’t wake up his parents to feed him or change his diaper (no one has bothered to try and potty train him and he’s 4 yrs old) because they are heroin addicts who are passed out. You clean him up, feed him, while taking care of your kids and getting them ready for school. You end up late for work because you can’t get his parents to wake up out of their drug stupor either, so you can give them their child back. (Stevie. I don’t know what happened to Stevie because they got kicked out of their house)

        I could go on and on, but I bet you guys would have done the same thing I did!

      • Rynski says:

        hey jenna – you already have practice helping kids with that one who stands/stood longingly at your screen door…you’re gonna be a natural!

      • Jennatoolz says:

        Hahah, Ryn…you and Azmouse are both right. 🙂

      • leftfield says:

        azmouse, when you do have a chance ot establish contact with your son’s girlfriend, you might try to get her a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate).  Mrs. Lefty was a CASA for many years and of all the various agencies that deal with children in these types of situations, they are one of the most effective.  CASA’s are independent, answering only to the judge on the case, unlike CPS, attornies, contracted service providers, etc; all of whom seem to have their reasons for doing as little as possible.  Unfortunately Mrs. Lefty and I are all too familiar with the kind of stories you relate.  Still, I never cease to be amazed what people can do to children. 

      • azmouse says:

        Thanks so much leftfield! I was thinking of CASA too!
        Erica, the girl, was told by her CPS worker that she would be put into a shelter. If they don’t have space here in town, then they’ll send her to a shelter in another city. It saddens me to my core. She is a smart, loving, beautiful young girl. This has been her life since she was little, unfortunately. Taken away, then given back. This time, she isn’t going back to Mom. Mom’s ties have been completely severed. Of course, despite the neglect, hunger and abuse at home, she loves her Mom with all her heart. It’s so sad.
        Maybe Mrs. leftfield would know about Erica possibly getting emancipated?? Is that what it’s called? I don’t know anything about that, but she is sixteen, so she might be old enough to do that? I would happily take care of her so she can get through high school and have a safe place to live, etc.
        Thanks for your help, leftfield

    • Jim Kelley says:

      When parents and community refuse to agree on how to calibrate the moral compass of their children, they grow up without that calibration. Children left to their own decision making when their frontal lobes have not formed yet will seek the seemingly easier softer way. Crooked men and crooked rivers are made the same way, always taking the path of least resistance.

      • azmouse says:

        That is so true. You have probably seen so much in your years of teaching.

      • Jim Kelley says:

        Every story you have told is heartbreaking. You are right, I have seen things as ateacher and as an “adventurer” all over the world. In Marseille, Beirut, Barcelona, Bogata, Mexico City,Prishtina,  ad infinitum. Youth crime is rooted in the same place as here in the US. It begins with ignorance and illiteracy perpetuated by racial or religious seperatism.In Marseille, the North Africans believed they had a right to invade France and Spain and that those countries owed them. They demanded seperate educational doctrine for “their” people. In Prishtina, the Albanians demanded the same thing from what was then Yugoslavia and later Bosnia Hercegovina, in Beirut it was arab islamisists against Christian Lebanese, on and on and on.
        Communism, Fascism, Socialism never ever solved the problem. Communism was “forced” assimilation without a moral compass, fascism was forced seperatism with a skewed moral compass based on skewed history ( I am speaking of the Ba’ath Party, the Serbs and Albanian philosphy after the fall of communism), Socialism was based on accomodation that broke the treasuries.
        If the parents do not buy in to the overall need for a common moral foundation, if they constantly are at odds with government and normal social associations of a community for whatever reason, children a taught by parental behavior that their behavior and conduct has no effect and therefore only self matters.
        The path of least resistance then becomes their compass.

      • Jim Kelley says:

        Clarification about the Ba’ath Party. It started with the Pan Arab League after WWII. It had footholds in Syria and Egypt and then Iraq under Sadaam Hussein. It is foundationally fascist and incorporated the Nazi doctrine given to them during WWII. Any enemy of the jew is a friend of fascism was the philosphy.
        Albanians in Kosovo held onto a fascist doctrine after the War even though the communists had control of both Albania and Yugoslavia. The racial hegemony of the Albanians prevailed in Kosovo after the war and thus were granted autonomy by Yugolsavia based on the knowledge they would never align with the communists of Albania.
        Come forward to the late 90’s and you have Albanian and Serb conflict in Kosovo, both sides guilty of various genocidal atrocites in the names of racial victomology and superiority. Throw in Serb Christian against Albanian muslims and you have a perfect environment for civil war. 

      • Rynski says:

        good input, jim. and this is a fine quote:
        Crooked men and crooked rivers are made the same way, always taking the path of least resistance.

    • JoeS says:


      Hopefully he never victimizes you or a loved one,  but it sounds like you will never see it coming despite the signs…

      I hope he changes for the better.

      • azmouse says:

        In a few short months since getting out of prison he has gotten two jobs, an apartment, cellphone, furnishings and now a car.
        I hear what you’re saying, but I’m hopeful for him!

  4. leftfield says:

    In addition to poor impulse control, young people are also very susceptible to overreaching peer influence.  In the absence of other influences, say, from appropriate role models at home, they will often not stop and say, “Hey, I wonder if it’s wrong to rob people”? 

    None of this is much comfort when you’re staring at a scared kid with a big gun, of course. 

    People, being products of their material conditions, commit crimes in the environment in which they are familiar and comfortable.  Bernie Madoff committed his crimes in his environment of comfort and familiarity, and so do these kids.  Change the material conditions and you can reduce crime, sociopaths and those suffering from other personality disorders not withstanding. 

    • Rynski says:

      ahh, that fine element of peer pressure – too true, leftfield.
      i am somewhat fearful of your hypothetical question – if it’s WRONG to rob people – but would hope they know it’s wrong and just do it anyway….but you might be right. they may really not know.
      and yes, a scared kid with a big gun is a dead person waiting to happen.
      nice theory at the end – but changing the material conditions seems like a difficult, if not impossible, task in some cases, no?

      • leftfield says:

        Oh, somewhere inside I’m sure they know that violence and stealing are wrong.  But lynch mobs also must have known killing was wrong, yet somehow, other influences overcome that.

      • Jim Kelley says:

        somewhere inside I’m sure they know that violence and stealing are wrong. ”
        Not unless someone actually told them and enforced in their young minds that it is.

      • Rynski says:

        i WANT to believe humans are born with some innate sense that stealing/killing/hurting others is wrong…oh, how i want to believe that.

      • leftfield says:

        Yes, I think you are essentially right.  If they grow up in an environment in which there are messages that lying, stealing, violence, etc, are the norm, they will behave accordingly (I believe, anyway). 

  5. Jennatoolz says:

    People seem to enjoy breaking into and/or stealing my vehicles. My first car was broken into twice within 2 months, both times the thief attempted to steal my stereo. He didn’t get it the first time, but the 2nd time he did. I was about 18 years old and I remember feeling soooo violated!

    Then a couple years ago someone decided to steal my entire car…I guess just the stereo wasn’t enough this time? I just got the car about a month prior…it was so upsetting! I was lucky and got the car back 4 days later, undamaged…sans stereo/speakers/gas. I imagine stealing cars would make one hungry, so they stopped at a Taco Bell too. They were nice enough to leave me their trash. Thanks theives!

    • Rynski says:

      ahhh, i remember you taco bell littering thieves story…your poor car(s)!
      i, too, recall the feeling of violation too well.
      years ago in michigan my parents’ house was robbed when we were all away on a family vacation. it stinks to come home and know someone was there rifling through your stuff and taking valuables. …the theory, what a coincidence, was the burglary was committed by a bunch of teens.

  6. kevinp says:

    Maybe the schools should teach these kids about “castle doctrine”
    In AZ, getting caught by the cops would be a good outcome comparitively.

  7. oldwest2 says:

    I think these dudes mug shots say it all, just look into there eyes, what do you see?  “Emptiness”, how about lack of remorse or better yet.
    I read Renee’s article concerning brain development and found it informative and interesting, but dealing with punks like in the mug shots it really is just an excuse for them, they really lack more than just frontal lobe development, they lack a brain.

  8. leftfield says:

    Maybe Mrs. leftfield would know about Erica possibly getting emancipated?? Is that what it’s called

    HI again,  I was out for a bit.  Yes, it’s called that.  I know that this requires a lawyer and a judge.  Once she is in “the system”, so to speak, she will have a lawyer, albiet one who she will not likely meet until about two minutes before a court hearing.  Mrs. Lefty is out of town right now, but I will ask her more about this when she returns.  It seems if parental rights have already been severed, then she must have a lawyer somewhere and she could qualify to be an emancipated minor.  In the meantime, if parental rights have been severed, right now she is a ward of the State of AZ.  If so, you would have to take some classes for a few weeks to qualify as a foster parent and home inspection to qualify as a foster home.   The classes are given through a number of private organizations, mostly religious organizations, and new classes are always starting. 

    • azmouse says:

      Thank you so much for the information, leftfield. All parental rights have been severed, so maybe I can start making some phone calls and see what I can find out. Like I said, I don’t even know where she is right now and haven’t seen/talked to her since Monday.
      I’m certainly not rich, but I’d like to be able to see that she has as much of a normal childhood (what’s left of it) as possible. Her status as my son’s girlfriend has nothing to do with it, although it would make it more awkward if she’s living here, but I’ll figure that all out when needed.

      Thanks again. If you’re comfortable, you can email me….azmouse@cox.net
      If not, I’ll keep my eyes open for any advice you might throw my way! 🙂

      First step….finding her….

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