Victims said he bounded, stripped and gagged them, all before they were robbed. On Tuesday, victims of the so-called “ninja robbers” took the stand against one of the suspects, Andres Perez.
During their crime spree, people in Collier County are still disturbed when a group of masked armed men, known as the ninja robbers, terrorized the community.
Five years later, victims are lining up to testify against Perez, 49. He has been accused as the mastermind of the crimes.
“We started seeing our kids being brought in with guns to their heads and asked to lay down on the ground next to us,” said Steve, a victim testifying.
The victims took the stand Tuesday, telling a jury how the family was bound up naked and held at gunpoint.
“They made us strip down and then they had us lay down and they tied us up,” said Amanda, a victim testifying. “One of them racked a gun and the bullet rolled across the floor.”
The family went on to tell the jury that men ransacked their home as they laid there on the ground. “I was looking at him and as he would look up, I would look at him,” Dianne, a victim, said during her testimony, “and then he would tell me to put my head down.”
Police said the ninja robbers terrorized people in Collier County from August 2013 through May 2014. Perez faces 37 different charges. His co-defendants, who have already stood trial or cut plea deals, are now in prison.
The string of robberies sparked panic among neighbors. People hired men with guns to safeguard their homes. They even took classes on how to use a weapon, hoping they would not be next.
It was a time of extreme fear and emotion. Now, these victims hope to find peace and justice. “Angry that these people had come in and demanding things of us,” Amanda said, “they had no right to take.”