For release on April 20, 2023
CONTACT: Tessa Stephenson
Deputy District Attorney
North County Felony Team
Three Men charged with Hate Crimes After Armed Robbery Spree against Asians
Three men have been charged with an armed robbery spree in residential Palo Alto and Milpitas during which they exclusively targeted Asian people. 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.
Evidence shows that the men, who will be arraigned today at 1:30 in Dept. 84 of the North 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.
DA 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.”
On April 17, 2023, at 6:35 PM, a woman reported that she and her family had just arrived at her Palo Alto home when they were robbed at gunpoint. Twenty minutes later, a woman – also in Palo Alto - was taking groceries out of her car when the same men robbed her at gunpoint. At 7:28 PM, 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.