OPD Make Arrests in May Murder of Gardener

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Four teenagers have been arrested and charged with murder in connection with the brazen daytime robbery and fatal shooting of a gardener in Oakland's Fruitvale District four months ago, police said Tuesday.

        Sgt. Mike Gantt said 42-year-old Antonio Torres was shot to death  during a robbery that occurred while he was working in the front yard of a client's home in the 1600 block of 34th Avenue at about 1 p.m. on May 20.     Gantt said it appeared that the four suspects targeted Torres because they wanted to steal his gold necklace and his iPod.
        He said it took a while to solve the case, but that in August an informant told police that he had overheard one of the suspects bragging  about Torres' shooting.
        Gantt said police detained that suspect last week and he confessed to being involved in the crime.
        The suspect then provided information about the other three suspects. A warrant was issued for them last Wednesday, and they were  arrested Thursday, Gantt said. Those three suspects have also confessed to being involved in the crime, he said.
        The Alameda County District Attorney's Office has charged all four suspects with murder, according to Gantt.
        He said a 19-year-old suspect was charged as an adult and the other three -- whose ages are 15, 16 and 17 -- were charged as juveniles.
        Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan said people wearing gold necklaces and chains have been the target of crimes in the past six months  because the price of gold has soared, and stealing gold items is "a lucrative  business."
        He said such crimes "are a big concern for us."
        Jordan said police are warning people to "be vigilant" and pay  attention to their surroundings if they wear gold items.
        Gantt said police believe the four teens charged in Torres' murder  have also been involved in other robberies and burglaries, but no additional  charges have been filed yet.