Teen, juvenile charged in armed taxi heist
Demetrio Garcia, 17, of Oak Bluffs appeared in Edgartown District Court Friday, charged with armed robbery of a taxi driver at knifepoint last Wednesday night. Oak Bluffs Police arrested Mr. Garcia and a Hyannis juvenile not identified in court documents for the robbery following a brief investigation.
Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Laura Marshard outlined the charges against Mr. Garcia at his arraignment Friday in Edgartown.
She told the court Mr. Garcia and the juvenile accomplice got into a taxi on Circuit Avenue and directed the driver to a remote location where they robbed him.
Mr. Garcia entered not guilty pleas to charges of armed robbery, assault to rob while armed, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Ms. Marshard asked that Mr. Garcia be held on $15,000 bail. She cited the seriousness of the crime, and she argued the defendant might try to leave the Island.
Defense attorney Al Daniels argued that bail be set at $2,000, saying Mr. Garcia's family ties would help ensure he returned to court to face charges. Acting Edgartown District Court clerk-magistrate Joseph Sollitto ordered the defendant held on $15,000 bail.
Don't do this
According to a police report comprised of multiple interviews with the victim and obtained from the court, Petar Videnov, 30, a driver for Your Taxi since May 2008 picked up the two young men on Circuit Avenue. One man wore a dark color skull cap. The other wore a hat with an emblem.
The men directed the driver to a remote location on Vineyard Avenue, near the Oak Bluffs Cemetery. Near Dreamer's Way, Mr. Garcia and his accomplice asked the driver to stop.
At that point, the police report said, "the male with the skull cap grabbed him [Mr. Videnov] around the neck from behind using both arms across his neck holding him to the back of the seat. The other with the emblem hat held a knife in his face where he could see it. The knife was about six inches long and was a folding type."
Mr. Videnov, of Bulgaria, told police interviewers he pleaded with the defendants. The report continues, "They demanded my money. I told them 'don't do this, don't do this, it is a small Island.' I ask them please not to cut me. Somehow I got cut on my little finger, a small cut only, but is from the knife.
"They wanted money so I gave them all my money which was in a black paper clip. It was about $150. Some was taxi money, maybe $120, and the rest was my money."
The defendants then fled on foot into the woods. Oak Bluffs Police cordoned off the area and contacted the fire department for use of a thermal imaging camera.
The robbers discarded some of the dark clothing they had worn and made their way back to the downtown area of Oak Bluffs.
Police began an immediate investigation that led them to an apartment Mr. Garcia shared with family members on Circuit Avenue. According to the police report, police told Mr. Garcia that they had probable cause to search his residence and arrest him. "He then started to cry and told us that he would tell us the truth," said the report. Mr. Garcia then described how he and his friend had robbed the cab driver and then escaped from the scene.
In the course of their investigation police recovered a black clip that Mr. Videnov identified as the one taken during the robbery, some money, and dark clothing discarded near the scene of the robbery.
It seems like it was well thought out," Oak Bluffs police lieutenant Tim Williamson told The Times. "They wore clothing they planned to ditch in the woods."
Mr. Videnov declined to comment on the robbery when reached by telephone yesterday.
The owner of Your Taxi, Diane Habekost, also declined any comment on the incident.