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Alleged Craigslist "gay prey" robber trial begins

by Weho News

Friday September 23, 2011

The trial of an alleged robber using Craigslist hook ups, one of them with a West Hollywood man, to victimize people began yesterday in the Torrance Courthouse.

As reported last year, the alleged "gay prey" bandit, Angel Pena Ayala, age 25, stands charged with robbing men at gun point after arranging trysts with them over Craiglist's "Men seeking Men" section.

In addition to the West Hollywood victim, Mr. Ayala is charged with another "gay prey" Craigslist robbery on March 31, 2010 of a Hermosa Beach man he also met through Craigslist and the April 13, 2010, robbery of a Bell Gardens man, this time along with a female accomplice meeting a "date" and and with a Taco truck holdup two days afterward.

The West Hollywood victim opened the state's case, according to the Daily Breeze's reporting, testifying about his experience.

Saying the March 17, 2001 event frightened him, the man, unidentified to protect his identity, described meeting Mr. Ayala near the Kodak Theater, returning to his WeHo home to engage in sex, and paying him $50.

According to the Daily Breeze account, the WeHo victim heard again from Mr. Ayala, who offered his services.

The victim agreed to meet, but soon after gaining entry to the victim's home, he pulled a gun.

He said Mr. Ayala forced him to gather the household's computers, television, stereo and other electronics into a pile in the living room.

Then he allegedly hogtied the victim and left him in a bathroom.

When going outside to give entry to his accomplices, say law enforcement officials, Mr. Ayala bungled the job, allowing a security door to fasten behind him, leaving them all outside building and with nothing to show for their efforts.

His scheme, which he tried again four days later, came off better the second time, according to the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Ethan Milius, but not by much, as he was arrested in less than three weeks, confessing to the crime.

In that robbery, Mr. Ayala is alleged to have used a gun to compel his victim to unscrew and carry to Mr. Ayala's car his own flat screen TV and electronics gear.

He then drove the victim to an ATM where he forced the man to withdraw $400.

Leaving the man there, he stole the car.

As a result of his 20-day spree of robberies, Mr. Ayala, a White Fence" gang member on parole for carjacking, stands charged with 12 felony counts of robbery, kidnapping, carjacking and using a gun to commit his crimes against four victims.

Because of his gang membership and allegations by prosecutors that the crimes were committed to benefit the gang, he faces a sentence of life in prison.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

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