Lehigh Valley

Four arrested in overnight Allentown crime spree

Pointed guns at heads of victims


Pointing a handgun at the head of their victims, four men went on a crime spree Tuesday night on the streets of Allentown.

All four were arrested by city police early Wednesday morning, shortly after their fourth robbery.

Arrested were:

* Ray Junior Cotto, 25, of Apartment 1 at 108 N. 8th St., Allentown.

* Omar Hanif Harrington, 18, of 335 N. Penn St., Allentown.

* Luis Alexis Martinez, 22, of 829 S. 10th St., Allentown.

* Rayquan Khalid Newton, 17,  of 335 N. Penn St., Allentown.

Here's what happened, according to Allentown police:

At about 11:10 p.m. Tuesday, Jeremy Johns was walking in the 900 block of Walnut Street when he was followed by Newton and Harrington. Newton approached Johns, put a gun to his head and demanded his belongings. Harrington went through the victim's pockets and took a pack of cigarettes. Newton took the victim's cell phone. 

The two left Johns, who went to the Allentown police station to report the robbery.

At about 11:22 p.m. Tuesday, Carlos Cruz was getting out of his vehicle at Franklin and Fairview streets when when Newton approached him, wearing a black mask.  He put a gun to Cruz's head and demanded his belongings. Harrington held Cruz down on the ground. They took his wallet, a broken cell phone and a book bag before fleeing. Cruz contacted police.

At about 1:22 a.m. Wednesday, Daniel Martin was approached on a porch at 1323 Chew St.  by three of the suspects, who approached  him with their faces covered and firearms drawn. Again, Newton put a gun to Martin's head and demanded he turn over his belongings.  Cotto took a cell phone and two condoms before demanding Martin leave.

Martin also reported the incident to police.

At 1:22 a.m. Wednesday, another victim was contacted by phone by Newton, asking if he was home. That man, who apparently resides at that Chew Street address,  said he would be shortly.  When he got home, Newton knocked on the door. When the man answered, Harrington forced his way into the house. Cotto and Newton followed him in. Different suspects handled the firearms at different times.

They forced the victim to go upstairs, where they took money, cell phones, laptops, an X-Box game system and jewelry.  The three suspects then fled the house and got into a nearby Honda, driven by getaway driver Luis Martinez.

Moments after the robbery, three city police officers spotted and stopped the vehicle.  All four suspects were inside. A small handgun was found under the car seat where Cotto was seated. Another handgun was in the glove compartment, in front of where Newton was seated.  Police also found items stolen in the final armed robbery.

Two of the robbery victims were transported to the area where defendants were being detained. Cotto, Harrington and Newton were identified as being involved in the robberies.  Martinez admitted to taking part in the planning and execution of the  armed robberies with the other three co-defendants.

Harrington was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery with a threat of immediate serious injury, burglary where a person was present and theft by unlawful taking. 

Newton was charged with four counts of conspiracy to commit robbery with an immediate threat of immediate serious injury, one count of conspiracy to commit burglary, two counts of possession of firearms by a minor and five counts of theft by unlawful taking.

Cotto was charged with two counts of robbery with a threat of immediate serious injury to another, criminal conspiracy to commit robbery and burglary of an occupied structure. He also was charged with carrying a concealed and unlicensed firearm.

Martinez was charged with two counts of robbery, one count of burglary, conspiracy to commit robbery and theft by unlawful taking.

All four suspects were committed to Lehigh County Prison. Bail was set at $200,000 for each of them. They were unable to post bail.

A preliminary hearing on the charges against the four has been scheduled for 2 p.m. July 17 in magisterial district court in Lehigh County Courthouse.

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