Three Men Charged with Hate Crimes in Armed Robberies of Asians in Palo Alto, Milpitas

Three men have been charged with an armed robbery spree in residential Palo Alto and Milpitas that exclusively targeted Asian people.

The Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office reported that In one case, the men held a gun to the head of a man parked in his home garage, with his wife standing outside the car and two terrified young children still seated in the back.

Prosecutors said evidence shows that the men, who will be arraigned today in the County Courthouse in Palo Alto on felony robbery charges, targeted Asian people because of their perceived wealth.

Tevita Lauti Fefita, 21, of Oakland, Curtis Eddie Charles Freeman, of Stockton, 19, and Siahola Jlan Tupouata, 18, of Oakland, face robbery charges, hate crime enhancements, and prison, if convicted.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen said: “Those who prey on Asian people should know that both my office and our county are proudly diverse and united against hatred and violence.”

Prosecutors said that on Monday, April 17, at 6:35pm, a woman reported that she and her family had just arrived at their Palo Alto home when they were robbed at gunpoint.

Twenty minutes later, another Palo Alto woman was taking groceries out of her car when the same men robbed her at gunpoint. Then another half hour later, at 7:28pm, a woman and her friend were parked in a garage in Milpitas when the men robbed them at gunpoint.

The suspects were arrested in San Francisco later that night. Much of the stolen property was found in the stolen car, including a gun. Because the defendants targeted the victims based on their race, each count includes a hate-crime enhancement, Rosen said.

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