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Man faces charges in home invasions

By JOSH ZIMMER andMIKE BRASSFIELD

© St. Petersburg Times,
published October 31, 2001


TAMPA -- Shortly after noon Tuesday, Hanh Van Nguyen watched two men leave a house in Carrollwood. Then he got out of his van and knocked on the front door.

He greeted the woman who answered with a loaded, stolen handgun, authorities say, and quickly subdued her and another woman.

But as the Tampa man rummaged through the house, a third person in hiding was calling 911, Hillsborough sheriff's spokesman Lt. Rod Reder said. Alerted to the robbery by the man in the Shaw Road home, deputies surprised Nguyen within minutes and tackled him as he tried to flee through the front door with a duffel bag full of stolen goods.

Nguyen, 40, was charged with felonies in Tampa and faces charges in St. Petersburg in connection with two home invasions there.

The Carrollwoodvictims, including a 76-year-old woman and a 22-year-old woman, received minor wrist injuries from being tied up, Reder said.

A Chinese restaurant on Dale Mabry Highway is owned by one or more of the victims, Reder said, and they may all work at the restaurant. Communication was difficult, he said -- they spoke little English -- and deputies were unable to get their names. However, they indicated they did not know Nguyen.

"We don't know why he picked this house," said Reder.

Charges against Nguyen include: home invasion and armed robbery, armed kidnapping, grand theft firearm, aggravated battery on an elderly person, aggravated assault and carrying a concealed firearm, Reder said. Nguyen also was charged with resisting without violence, a misdemeanor.

Nguyen of 7821 St. Vincent St. also is wanted in Tampa on a robbery-burglary warrant, Tampa police spokesman Joe Durkin said. The gun he carried was stolen from Pasco County, but Reder could not provide details.

St. Petersburg police say Nguyen was responsible for two home-invasion robberies in the past week. In both, residents in their 50s or 60s were beaten and robbed while home alone at midday.

Nguyen will likely be charged with both robberies, said St. Petersburg police.

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