5 arrested for assault, attempted kidnapping in Norristown; 2 suspects sought

Five men have been arrested in connection with two armed robberies and an attempted kidnapping in Norristown, authorities announced Monday. Two suspects remain on the run.

Arrested were 30-year-old Charlie Franco, 35-year-old Eric Santana, 32-year-old Damon Murphy and 31-year-old Theophilus Berry, all of Philadelphia, and 27-year-old Michael Dukes of Norristown.

Arrest warrants have been issued for 29-year-old Calvin Berkins of Norristown and 28-year-old Rebecca Roman of Philadelphia. Both are being actively sought by law enforcement.

For the workers at El Camino Motors in Norristown it was one the the scariest days of their lives. Investigators say armed men and women walked into their place of business on two occasions, robbed a co-worker and threatened to kill him.

"It's terrible. It's actually horrifying," worker Cosmin Oliver told FOX 29 Monday night. "I see it every day on the news. Someone getting robbed or getting shot, but I never expected it to be so close to home."

FOX 29 spoke by phone to the victim of the first robbery back in April. The victim says two women and a man came in to look at a car on the East Main street lot, but suddenly things turned violent.

"The guy put me on the floor and he's like if you look at my face I'm gonna shoot you so I was on the floor," he said.

The suspects escaped with $8,000 to $10,000 in cash, 100 car titles and the employee's wallet, according to police. Three months later, investigators say three men with guns returned to El Camino Motors and forced the same employee back into the office and robbed him of $1,200 at gunpoint.

"I thought they was gonna kill me that's what I thought," the victim said.

The terrifying incident wasn't over. Investigators and the victim say the suspects then tried to force him into an SUV.

"I started screaming and fighting just trying to get up. Luckily, I got up and ran," he added.

According to police, the suspects didn't waste any time trying to spend the stolen cash--heading straight to the SugarHouse Casino. Video surveillance cameras captured their every move. Five of the seven suspects are now behind bars on $1 million dollars bail.

Police say at one point one of the defendants returned to the car dealership and told the victim he needed to lie at an upcoming hearing on the case. Police were watching that meeting and arrested the man with a loaded gun.

A preliminary hearing for all defendants is slated for Friday at 10 a.m.

Berkins and Roman remain on the run. Police describe Berkins as a black man with brown hair, brown eyes and a short bushy-style beard. He is 5'6" tall and weighs approximately 230 pounds.

Roman is described as a Hispanic woman with brown eyes and long, dark hair that has been dyed blonde. She is 5'5" tall and weighs approximately 135 pounds.

Both suspects are considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with any information on either suspect is asked to call Montgomery County Detectives at 610-278-3368 or Norristown Police at 610-270-0977. Anonymous tips can also be texted using MontcoCrimeTips on the STOPit! app.