LAS VEGAS (Las Vegas Sun) -- Two men who allegedly lured women to an apartment and then robbed them while posing as police officers were arrested Friday by Metro Police.
The men — Christopher Ontiveros-Mendez, 28, and Charles Rush, 29 — came to police attention after a female dancer called 311 to report the suspicious situation, according to an arrest report.
The victim arrived early Friday morning to an apartment at 8025 W. Russell Road to dance for a bachelor party. When she knocked on the door, Ontiveros-Mendez invited her inside, then grabbed her wrist and pulled her through the door.
Ontiveros-Mendez identified himself as a police officer, displaying a silver badge, and told the woman she was under arrest.
The woman believed him, so she handed over her cellphone and allowed him to handcuff her. That’s when Rush, wearing a bullet-proof vest and a gold badge hanging from a chain, entered the apartment.
The suspects told the victim she was under arrest for soliciting prostitution and proceeded to take her belongings — including a Gucci purse and wallet, $60 cash, beauty supplies and car keys — and question her about a black male.
The victim repeatedly told the suspects she didn’t know the man in the photos.
After taking items from her car, Ontiveros-Mendez and Rush released the woman but kept some of her belongings as “evidence.” The woman noticed $620 cash had been taken from the center console in her car.
After the victim called 311 to report the incident, officers responded to the apartment complex and discovered an apparent vehicle-stop in progress.
They observed two men who appeared to be dressed in body armor and carrying flashlights and handguns. Another man was in handcuffs on a sidewalk, and a woman was in handcuffs in the back of a 2002 white Ford Crown Victoria.
The officers approached Ontiveros-Mendez and Rush and took them into custody.
The woman in handcuffs told officers she was a dancer who was responding to the apartment to perform when the Crown Victoria pulled up behind her. Rush exited the vehicle and told the victim she was under arrest for soliciting prostitution, the woman told police.
Rush initially told officers he and Ontiveros-Mendez were fugitive recovery agents trying to apprehend a pimp who skipped out on $80,000 bond. After investigators confronted him with several inconsistencies in his story, Rush admitted to stealing the money and belongings from the first woman and splitting the money with Ontiveros-Mendez.
Rush denied identifying himself as a police officer.
Detectives arrested Rush and Ontiveros-Mendez on three counts each of robbery with a deadly weapon, first-degree kidnapping with a deadly weapon and impersonating a police officer.
They remain in the Clark County Detention Center without bail.
-- Jackie Valley / Las Vegas Sun