Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Latina has been arrested for staging an armed robbery against herself so that she could get a crime victim’s visa to stay in the United States

Josselin Yuliana Rodas, 29, was booked into Marin County Jail on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud, child endangerment and filing a false police report. Her bail was set at $75,000. San Rafael police are also seeking charges against the teenager who robbed Rodas at her request. The juvenile, who has since left the country, is a relative of Rodas, said San Rafael police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher. The robbery was reported January 4, 2013. Rodas and another woman said that it happened after they left a nearby market with Rodas’ 16-month-old child. The women said that the robber approached while they were putting the baby and the groceries in their car. The robber demanded their purses and struck Rodas in the head with a handgun. The attacker hit the other woman in the knee with the gun during the scuffle. The women said that the robber ripped both their purses from them and also tore a necklace off one of the women. Rodas suffered a welt and cut on the head, and the other woman suffered bruising to her knee. Medics treated them at the scene. The women described the robber as 6 feet or 6-foot-2 and muscular. They said that he was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with his face covered, and that they were unable to provide police with a racial or ethnic description. As police continued to investigate the case in the ensuing weeks, they developed information that the story might be false, Rohrbacher said. Investigators learned that Rodas had received a notice from immigration authorities that she would have to leave the United States by a certain date. Police suspect that Rodas and the teenage relative conspired to stage the robbery so Rodas could obtain a so-called “U visa.” The U visa allows victims of certain violent crimes, and their family members, to remain in the country while they help authorities secure a conviction against the perpetrator. Police arrested Rodas at her residence. Rohrbacher said that police are asking the district attorney’s office to consider a robbery charge in addition to the other crimes because Rodas planned the robbery and there was a real victim. The woman who was robbed along with Rodas was apparently unaware of the plot, Rohrbacher said. The father of the baby will keep custody of the toddler and the couple’s other children. Rohrbacher said that Rodas and the teenager are the only suspected conspirators, but the investigation is continuing.

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