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Pedroza enters guilty plea to burglary and robbery

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

An Indianapolis man pleaded guilty to burglary and robbery and will be sentenced in July in a case that the prosecuting attorney hopes will also help resolve two unsolved murders in other jurisdictions.

Fernando Pedroza, 26, pleaded guilty to burglary (a Class A felony) and robbery (a Class B felony) in a blind plea on Wednesday. A blind plea means the judge will determine his sentence, which will be handed down on July 6 and will be between 20-50 years.

On Jan. 17, 2013, a local resident was attacked by two black males who he didn’t know with a pistol. The man was tied up and was threatened with his and his 8-month daughter’s life. The two men stole guns, jewelry, electronics and several pairs of rare shoes.

Eleven days later, officer Pete Koe of the Indianapolis Police Department investigated suspicious activity by men with masks and guns who were seen entering an Indianapolis residence.

Koe was able to see several masked and armed men while approaching the front of the residence. He saw the residents were tied up on the floor and hoods covered their heads.

He entered the home and chased five armed men to the rear of the residence. The armed men saw another officer who Koe had posted in the back entrance and fled down to the basement.

The men threw their guns across the floor after Koe gave “firmly worded” directions. Three guns had been stolen in the Shelby County robbery.

Pedroza was one of the men caught in the basement that day.

“Unfortunately for them, they ran into IMPD’s one-man version of Seal Team 6 – Pete Koe,” Shelby County Prosecuting Attorney Brad Landwerlen said in a press release.

The car driven to the Indianapolis robbery belonged to Dominic Henderson, who was also caught. That car also appeared to have been the same one used in the Shelby County case based on surveillance video from a nearby factory that showed the brake light of the car was out.

Indianapolis Police Department Detective Kerry Buckner obtained a search warrant for Pedroza’s home, where he found the rare shoes from the Shelby County robbery. He also found evidence of other robberies in Indianapolis.

Shelby County Detective Roger Clark, who worked alongside Buckner, recovered the Shelby County victim’s cell phone and tablet from a pawn shop in Indianapolis.

He also interviewed Pedroza, who said he rode down with Henderson and didn’t know there was going to be a robbery. He said two other people in the car were there to buy marijuana.

The passengers watched the victim’s house for more than an hour while in the car before the other two people went inside to buy marijuana, according to Pedroza. He said that when those two called him and Henderson to come, they had already gathered up most of the stolen items.

He said he and Henderson helped load the guns and other items into the trunk, and admitted to entering a bedroom to look for more items.

Henderson was previously convicted of five counts of confinement, five counts of robbery and one count of burglary in the Indianapolis case. He received a case that would have him released in 2017 after serving a little more than four years, Landwerlen said. A charge of murder was dismissed.

Henderson was also convicted and received a 30-year sentence in the Shelby County case. He had 10 years of probation and as part of his term, he was required to testify truthfully. Henderson refused to testify and as a result, Landwerlen said he is seeking to revoke the 10-year probation sentence.

Pedroza was previously convicted for a series of home invasion robberies in Indianapolis and received a 20-year sentence on six counts of armed robbery and one count of burglary.

Two working days before the trial in Shelby County, Pedroza provided a new witness, Arremone Tobar, who he claimed would testify that he did the robbery.

Landwerlen and Clark interviewed him, but Tobar did not have correct details from the layout of the house to where the victim was located to what was taken. Tobar is currently serving a 65-year sentence for a murder he was hired to commit for $10,000.

Landwerlen then learned that Pedroza paid Tobar to lie on his behalf. During the interview with Tobar, he openly discussed an unsolved murder in another jurisdiction.

The prosecuting attorney hopes those developments will be a lead into that case and intends to inform the other jurisdiction of what Tobar said.

“These are all obviously some really, really bad guys – people we won’t tolerate here in Shelby County” Landwerlen said in the press release.

He also commended the work done by Clark and Detective Rick Isgrigg, who has since retired.

Landwerlen will be requesting the maximum sentence on Pedroza and is hoping to resolve two unsolved murders as a result of the conversation he had with Tobar. He also hopes to identify and prosecute the other two people involved in the Shelby County robbery.