SAN RAFAEL, CA -- A brazen armed robbery of young woman with her baby in January was actually a scheme to qualify for an immigration visa due to her status as a crime victim, San Rafael Police said Friday.
Police arrested Josselin Yuliana Rodas, 29, at her home in the Canal nieghborhood on Thursday afternoon on suspicion of willful cruelty to a child, conspiracy and making a false police report. The allegations are in connection with the Jan. 4 incident in which Rodas and another woman alleged to be the victims of an armed robbery, San Rafael Police Spokeswoman Margot Rohrbacher said.
In the description of the incident given to police, a masked gunman approached Roda, her 16-month-old baby and anoher woman as they had exited the Mi Rancho Market at 90 Belvedere Street in the Canal neighborhood. As the women were placing the baby into her car seat and groceries in the trunk, the man demanded their purses and struck the mother in the head and the other woman in the knee with a handgun during a scuffle, Rohrbacher said. The suspect took both purses and tore a necklace off one of the victims before fleeing the area, she said. The 16-month-old baby was not injured.
Rohrbacher said Rodas planned the incident with a juvenile male relative. Rodas had a pending immigration case and had been notified that she would have to leave the country by a certain date, so she planned the robbery so she could apply for a U-Visa due to her status as a crime victim, Rohrbacher said.
The U-Visa program became effective in the United States in 2007. A U-Visa may be granted to undocumented aliens who are the victims of specific serious crimes and who have cooperated with authorities in the investigation and prosecution of the offender, she said.
Rodas was booked at Marin County Jail and remains in custody in lieu of $75,000 bail. Her first court appearance is set for Monday, March 25. Rohrbacher said Roda's male juvenile co-conspirator fled the country shortly after the crime and investigators are continuing their efforts to locate him. The other victim was not aware that the incident was planned, Rohrbacher said.
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