For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office has secured a guilty verdict in a week and a half long robbery trial that began last Monday. The case was submitted by the Reno Police Department after an investigation into a pair of residential robberies. In both cases, the victims were elderly and sustained injuries while being robbed inside their own homes. One victim, a 75 year old Reno man, was severely beaten, bound, gagged and repeatedly Tasered at gunpoint for over two hours before he eventually escaped.
Roberto Anthony Ramirez, 19, from Reno, was found guilty on all charges against him on Tuesday evening in a trial that began last Monday in District Court. Ramirez was convicted of one count of Burglary, two counts of Robbery Against a Person 60 Years of Age or Older, one count of Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, one count of Burglary with Use of a Deadly Weapon, one count of Battery with Intent to Commit Robbery Against a Person 60 years of Age or Older and one count of Kidnapping in the First Degree Against a Person 60 Years of Age or Older Causing Substantial Bodily Harm.
This case began on February 14, 2016 when the Reno Police Department (RPD) responded to a report of a robbery. The 75 year old female victim reported she had been robbed by two male suspects who forced their way into her home when she answered her doorbell. Once inside, the suspects demanded money, while pushing the victim and knocking her to the ground. After ransacking the victim’s home, the suspects left with approximately $100 in cash, credit cards and other property. The victim immediately called police and RPD detectives began an investigation. Ten days later, a second similar robbery occurred involving a 74 year old male victim. In that case, the victim reported a similar pair of armed suspects entered his home and demanded money. The victim was pistol whipped, bound, gagged and repeatedly Tasered during the robbery, which resulted in the man’s wedding ring being stolen off his finger. Both victims were able to provide descriptions of the suspects and RPD detectives were ultimately able to identify Ramirez. In addition to witness statements, DNA evidence linked Ramirez to the crimes and he was arrested.
Ramirez and his accomplice had used the first victim’s credit card at a fast food restaurant shortly after the first robbery and detectives were able to obtain video surveillance footage of the car they believed Ramirez was riding in. Based on information gathered from the car, the second suspect was identified as Tristan Stearns Conti. It was later learned that Conti was killed after shooting and wounding a Lyon County Deputy Sheriff in an Officer Involved Shooting incident that occurred in Lyon County on February 25, 2017.
After completing their investigation, RPD submitted the case to this office for prosecution and the prosecutor filed formal criminal charges against Ramirez. Ramirez pled not guilty and the case proceeded to trial.
During trial Deputy District Attorney (DDA) Michael Bolenbaker presented testimony from both victims who described their ordeal to the jury. One spoke of how Ramirez had terrified him during the robbery, including dry firing a gun aimed at the victim in a game of “Russian Roulette”. This same victim also spoke of having suffered a torn rotator cuff as a result of an attempted escape. DDA Bolenbaker presented the surveillance video to the jury that assisted in identifying the suspects and showed Ramirez and Conti using the victim’s credit card. Finally, DNA evidence was introduced that had confirmed Ramirez and Conti were the suspects in the case.
The District Attorney’s Office intends on seeking the maximum sentence allowable by law. Sentencing is set for April 14, 2017 and Ramirez faces a term of up to life in prison without parole.