'He had a machete to my throat'

CONFRONTED: Image taken from surveillance video of suspect involved in armed robbery reported on Aug. 8 outside of the San Lorenzo Laundromat in Yigo. The suspect confronted a woman demanding cigarettes and money, threatening her with a machete. Photo snapshot of surveillance video

Elisa Cruz had taken her mother last Thursday evening to do laundry at the San Lorenzo Laundromat in Yigo when a complete stranger walked up to her and made demands.

"There was this guy who walked back and forth a couple of times," said Cruz, who was sitting in the driver's seat of her vehicle in the parking lot. Her 14-year-old son was also inside the car, while her mother was inside the laundromat.

"He actually came up to my car," she said. 

It was just after 11 p.m. that night. She said the suspect asked her for cigarettes and money, but Cruz told him she didn't have anything for him.

"He lifts up his shirt and pulls out his machete and says, 'how about now?' and I said I already told you that I don't have money for you. I only have for the laundry," she said. "So, he proceeds to put it towards my throat and said, 'how about if I cut your throat?' and I said, 'You don't want to do that.'"

Cruz said she remained calm and prepared herself to be in "fight mode" had things gotten any worse.

At one point, she was able to get ahold of the machete.

"It was so fast," she said. "As he was telling me 'don't honk the horn,' I am grabbing at the blade and I am slamming it down and honking the horn at the same time."

The would-be robber took off on foot.

"He had a machete to my throat!" she yelled as her mother rushed to get help from inside the laundromat. An employee rushed out holding a baseball bat, but the suspect had already taken off from the scene.

Surveillance video captured the suspect who Cruz described as being possibly in his early 20s, between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 7 inches, 145 pounds, a light complexion, with dark hair, brown eyes, and last seen wearing blue shorts and a blue hoodie and was barefoot.

"I had fear for my child. For my son and my mom," she said. "My whole focus was this man is going to hurt my kid."

No injuries were reported. Cruz said her car door had some damage as a result of the incident.

Anyone with information about this crime or any other crime is urged to call the Guam Police Department at 472-8911 or 475-8615~7. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call the Guam Crime Stoppers 24-hour hotline at 477-HELP or submit a tip online at guam.crimestoppersweb.com.

Police response

GPD issued a notice of the incident as part of its recent Guam Crime Stoppers report.

"All of these things are taking place in a public area and it still wasn't safe," Cruz said.

However, Cruz shared her disappointment with the response from officers that night.

"The way police responded was really what hurt me," she said. "GPD never showed up. They told me to go to the (Dededo) precinct."

She said she called 911 around 11:13 p.m.

"Had the police shown up they might have been able to locate the guy," she said.

The entire evening was a nightmare for Cruz and her family, as they were forced to drive to the Dededo Precinct Command to report the incident.

"I told him who I was," she said about the desk officer at the precinct. "He doesn't say a word to me after that and then a while later another officer walks in ... then he comes out and offers to assist me."

Cruz said the robbery left her with an adrenaline high. She said she also told officers about her disability, and questioned the lack of "reasonable accommodations" when she and her family had to provide their witness statements.

Cruz, who said she has training as a victims advocate, was also never offered any victims assistance after she reported the robbery.

"That's a problem," she said.

GPD is looking into her concerns.