EAST COUNTY– A 19-year-old man was beaten and robbed in Roman Forest early Monday as part of a plot, after trying to help someone he believed to be his ex-girlfriend.
According to Roman Forest Police Chief Stephen Carlisle, the trouble began a short time earlier, when the victim responded to a text from his ex-girlfriend. They texted for a while, and then she asked the victim for a special favor. She asked him to bring her $40 and a pack of cigarettes, to her family home at 2515 Octavian Ct. She also requested he quietly meet her in the backyard.
Joseph Bryce Castellow
The victim agreed, and took the money and cigarettes to the Roman Forest home expecting a secret meeting with his ex-girlfriend. Unfortunately, that was never going to happen. Chief Carlisle said the investigation indicated the young woman was asleep when the messages were sent by her current boyfriend, 19-year-old Reed William Thornton and 21-year-old Joseph Bryce Castellow, another male living in the home.
Reed William Thornton
Investigators say the victim arrived and entered the backyard where Thornton and Castellow lay in wait. The pair allegedly emerged from the bushes where they were hiding with both assaulting the victim before Thornton held him while Castellow robbed him of his cash and cigarettes.
The victim finally managed to escape to his vehicle and flee. It was 3:15 a.m. when he stopped in the median on Roman Forest Blvd and called 911. Roman Forest Police Officer Chris Carswell responded, and after hearing the victim’s account, the officer went to the home on Octavian Ct. where the assault occurred. Thornton and Castellow emerged from the home with their hands in the air, still covered in their victim’s blood. They were taken into custody without incident.
Medics checked the bruised and bloody victim on the scene. He sustained multiple injuries to the face, with the most prominent being a very swollen left eye.
Reed Thornton and Bryce Castellow are charged with second-degree felony Robbery. Thornton’s bond was set at $58,000 and Castellow’s at $30,000.
According to Public Data, Reed was convicted of Burglary of a Building in February and sentenced to five years’ probation. In November, 2013, he pleaded guilty to Driving While Intoxicated. Reed pleaded guilty to Burglary of a Vehicle, and Felony Theft of Property ($1,200 to $20,000) in 2012. Note: Any arrests/convictions prior to 2012 are not public record because the suspect was a juvenile.
Police Chief Stephen Carlisle said robberies are extremely unusual in Roman Forest.
“No amount of patrolling or other proactive measures will prevent this sort of crime because of the deception involved,” Chief Carlisle said. “This wasn’t a home invasion or some random attack on a stranger – the suspects pretended to be someone known to the victim in order to lure him to their home, where they attacked and robbed him.”
“Fortunately, the victim contacted us immediately after the incident and in this case we were able to take the suspects into custody before they had an opportunity to flee or to destroy evidence,“ he said, “But I want assure both law abiding citizens and criminals that even when an extensive investigation is required, we will continue to pursue the truth until justice has been served.”
“This behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Roman Forest.”
Publicly accessible Facebook photos posted Saturday and last Thursday appear to show a close bond between the suspects: