Snapchat, and other forms of social media, are usually given a bad reputation by the general public. These forms of communication are considered to be time-wasters that ruin a user’s ability to live in the moment. It is a total shock then that Snapchat is receiving good exposure for once.
In this particular case that occurred on Dec. 30, Snapchat was the saving grace that brought 18-year-old Castroville suspect, Victor Almanaza-Martinez, to justice.
This past Wednesday night, Victor Almanza-Martinez, alongside two other men who have yet to be identified, went to Lover’s Point Park in Pacific Grove– which is considered to be one of the top picnic spots, surf spots, and wildlife areas in San Francisco.
Instead of enjoying the many activities that Lover’s Point Park has to offer, the three men decided to take the reckless route and engage in an armed robbery.
The three men approached four female victims as they were sitting in their vehicle and held them at gun point until they evacuated their vehicle. They then proceeded to rob them of all of their possessions and took the keys of the victim’s 2013 black Chrysler 200.
Prior to fleeing the scene in the victim’s Chrysler, Almanza-Martinez made a rookie mistake and exchanged Snapchat information with one of the victims. Not only that, but Almanza-Martinez proceeded with his act of stupidity when he had one of the female victims pose for a selfie with him for Snapchat.
Almanza-Martinez must have thought that his getup during the robbery was sufficient enough to conceal his identity— he was wearing a black bandana covering his entire face when he took the selfie– but much to his demise, it ultimately served as a dead giveaway for task force detectives to seize him.
The three involved in the robbery fled the scene with the victims’ possessions and Chrysler shortly after Almanza-Martinez took his trophy Snapchat picture with the victim.
It is still unknown if the suspects and victims knew each other, although given the weird encounter between Almanza-Martinez and the victim during the robbery, it isn’t ruled out.
Thankfully, all four of the victims remained unharmed, and at 1:12 a.m., directly after the incident occurred, the victims reported the robbery to police.
Despite Almanza-Martinez’s attempt to go undercover during his Snapchat selfie, he was easily identified as the suspect and tracked down by task force detectives not long after the initial armed robbery occurred. His reason for using Snapchat during an armed robbery is unknown, but the fact that he self-sabotaged himself is a fact.
At 11:45 a.m. the following morning, task force detectives went to Aztell Street, Castroville where they found Almanza-Martinez and seized him.
Currently, Almanza-Martinez is at the Monterey County Jail with a bail set at $170,000. According to NBC News, he was charged for: armed robbery, kidnapping, possession of stolen property, conspiracy, violation of probation and gang enhancements.
Unfortunately, the other two suspects did not send Snapchat selfies during the robbery, so the search for them is still ongoing. Detectives investigating the case have described the other two suspects to be in their early 20s with a Hispanic background. The other two are also considered to be armed and dangerous.
The victim’s 2013 Chrysler which was stolen on the night of the armed robbery is missing license plates, which makes it difficult to identify.
The vehicle still has not been found or returned to the victim.
Although the investigation is ongoing, Victor Almanza-Martinez thankfully made the job of the police department a little easier the night he couldn’t resist his obsession with Snapchat.