A UCF student was held at gunpoint and robbed in downtown Orlando at 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 29, police say.
Police say the two suspects allegedly responsible were found in Osceola County, one arrested for allegedly attempting to rob a 7-Eleven the following day.
Logan Graves, a senior at UCF majoring in political science-prelaw, said she and her friend, Javi Fernandez, had just got into her car that was parked at 81 North Hughey Ave. in the parking lot underneath the I-4 overpass when two men opened the doors of her vehicle and pulled out black semi-automatic handguns.
“We thought our friends were playing a prank or something by opening both of our doors, but we soon realized we did not know them, and they pushed guns into our bodies and demanded us to do and not to do various things,” Graves said.
Graves told KnightNews.com that the two suspects proceeded to use their guns take almost everything that she and Fernandez, who is not a UCF student, had. According to the police report, two iPhones, a wallet, cash and several gift cards were among the stolen items.
“They were there for about five minutes because we did not immediately give them our stuff. I was too freaked to move, and Javi was making the guy mad because he didn’t have a wallet. The guy kept moving the gun all over Javi’s body and then they both cocked them,” Graves said. “They continued using guns and their bodies to keep us in the car until we gave them almost everything we had.”
Graves said that at one point she thought the two men were going to shoot Fernandez. She said that one of the men punched him in the face and in retaliation, Fernandez tried grabbing the man’s gun. Graves said that she didn’t want to watch and turned away. She said that when she did this, one of the men shoved her door into her face and said “You’re not going anywhere.”
Graves said that after the two men ran off, Fernandez ran after them and got the tag number from the vehicle they got into and supplied it to the Orlando Police Department when they responded to the scene.
OPD searched the area but couldn’t find the suspects.
The following day, Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to a 7-Eleven on S. Orange Blossom Trail in Kissimmee where three men allegedly attempted to rob the store but ran out before taking anything, according to police.
Police tracked down one of the alleged suspects, Alejandro Najera, 22, and arrested and charged him with attempted armed robbery, aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony, criminal conspiracy and driving without a license.
Working together, both OPD and the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office were able to also connect Najera to the armed robbery in downtown Orlando. Graves said OPD showed her a lineup of photos, and she said she instantly recognized the two men responsible.
Both Najera and Ashley Antoine, 21, were arrested in connection with the armed robbery downtown Orlando.
Graves said she feels very fortunate that police were able to track down the men allegedly responsible. She said she has been back to downtown since the incident occurred but nothing feels the same.
“It’s like a loss of innocence,” Graves said. “Something wilted inside of me that night.”