3 Bay Area teens set up dates online, then shot, robbed unsuspecting men, police say

Published 8:01 am PDT, Wednesday, June 26, 2019

SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. (KCRA) — Three teens are facing criminal charges in Solano County.

Amit Chhoker, 18, Branden Lerma, 19, and a 17-year-old boy are accused of setting up dates online then shooting and robbing unsuspecting men.

Detectives said Chhoker would have conversations with the men on a social media platform before setting up a time to meet.

“She picks him up and drives him out to the location,” Solano County Undersheriff Brad DeWall said.

Investigators said Chhoker picked up the first man, an 18-year-old she met online, in April. The pair drove to a remote spot on Putah Creek Road, near Lake Solano Park.

“Once they got to that location, they started to get romantic,” DeWall said. “Quickly, these two males entered the vehicle.”

Deputies said Lerma and the 17-year-old were hiding and waiting.

The trio shot and robbed the man, then left him in the remote area, DeWall said. The victim was later able to contact law enforcement and get help.

Two months later, deputies were called back to the same location. Investigators said another teen had been shot after getting picked up by a woman he met online.

“Not only in the same fashion is this executed, but the descriptions are matching, and there are very similar patterns,” DeWall said.

Detectives said both men who were shot said they’d been picked up by a woman they met online who was driving a green Land Rover.

“It kind of heightened our alarm that we had a pattern going on,” DeWall said.

A neighbor’s home security camera caught video of an SUV driving in the area the night of one of the shootings. Investigators said one of the victim’s cellphones pinged to a Woodland neighborhood.

Deputies and police staked out the house, eventually spotting a green Land Rover.

Earlier this week, Chhoker was arrested while driving the vehicle.

The Land Rover was seized and searched. Investigators said they found human blood inside.

Two days after Chhoker’s arrest, Lerma and the other teen were also taken into custody.

The trio is being held without bail, investigators said.

Deputies said they working to determine if there are any additional victims.

This story originally appeared on KCRA.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/3-Bay-Area-teens-set-up-dates-online-then-shot-14050891.php.

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